Meet The Woman Ready To Shatter A Glass Ceiling For The Second Time

June 25, 2018


Rashida Tlaib earned her entry into the history books when she became the first Muslim American woman to serve in the Michigan Legislature. Now she’s working on a revision to that entry: first Muslim American woman to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives. From supporting energy-saving tax breaks and incentives for seniors to creating the Mary Turner Center for Advocacy—an organization providing free tax representation and aid for residents dealing with foreclosure issues as well as offering assistance to high school students navigating the maze of college financial aid— Tlaib has spent the majority of her political career as a member of the Michigan House of Representatives advocating for people and families who might not feel they have a voice. For Tlaib, working hard to create meaningful change and lasting, positive impact in the lives of people in her home state of Michigan as well as in communities across the country is her main focus and primary passion. That she gets to shatter a couple of cultural and gender glass ceilings in the process is a powerful bonus.


Carrie Hammer: Why is it an exciting time to be a woman in politics? 


Rashida Tlaib: Maybe it is because Donald Trump becoming President of the United States is the “bat signal” for women. But maybe even more likely, it is the overwhelming feeling that we need to do something about our broken government right now, which is why it’s so exciting for women to step up and lead. Women are eager to fix our immigration system to keep families and communities together and eager to find a real solution to the gun crisis so our kids stop dying. And for many like myself, I feel a tremendous need to be a voice for those that have not had a chance to be at the table on issues that directly impact our lives.


Hammer: What would it mean to you to be the first Muslim woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives? What kind of message would that send to young women interested in pursuing a career in politics?



Tlaib: Making history at a time where so many American Muslims feel under attack and targeted solely based on their faith would inspire millions across the country. Although it would be incredible to become the first, I hope many will see I also represent a generation of Americans that are fed up with the fact that government is less about helping our families and more about who has the big money. I have seen my own neighborhood in Detroit get left behind due to support for big corporate polluters that have been able taint our democratic system with their corporate PACs and donations to our elected officials on all levels of government.


Hammer: What advantages do you think women candidates bring to public service? When did you know that your strengths lay in advocating for people through public service?


Tlaib: Women have a unique lens for seeing the world. Women can instantly see the impact a bill or a decision will have on real people. Our lens is empathetic and so razor focused on the needs of real people--we’re less obsessed with balance sheets and bottom lines when making policy. There is too much “political strategy” and “gamesmanship” being used to make decisions in Congress. Women fix things when we strategize and come up with solutions.


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