We wouldn’t be where we are without our husbands, brothers, fathers, sons, and male friends in our lives. However, two all-too-common myths persist here in the boot among our gentlemen friends.

The first myth is that women can’t be mothers and elected officials at the same time. The second is that by supporting women, men are somehow devalued.

When women run for office, they win their races just as often as men do. The problem is that not as many women get engaged in politics in the first place. Comments that suggest they can’t be both mothers and leaders give many women pause and keep them from engaging.

But do we ever question if a man can be a father and a representative or senator at the same time? Of course not – because we all know they can.

The same goes for women. Being a mother and an elected official at the same time is a strength, not a weakness. It provides an incredible perspective and brings rich experience to the table.

The second myth – supporting women means devaluing men – is a zero-sum game, the idea that there are only winners and losers. We believe in win-win scenarios.

Women bring smart policy solutions to the table. Women have the experience of managing the multiple priorities of their own businesses and households.

Women have ideas, talent and passion to move our state forward for all of Louisiana.

A recent poll identified that 68 percent of American women lean moderate or conservative, yet these “center-right” women are largely absent from public policy decisions.

Louisiana Women Lead is the only statewide organization wholly dedicated to encouraging center-right women to step up to the table in elected or appointed positions.

Culturally, women in Louisiana are not raised thinking they should run office. LEAD believes that alongside male leaders, women rightfully need to be represented as 55 percent of registered voters are women.

Women are very interested in who represents us in public office. We not only register to vote, but we also vote in high numbers. When we turn out, we change the outcome. We should elect the best person for the job regardless of gender, and that might be a man but it can very well be a woman.

A woman who runs a business, has a family, does volunteer work for her church, and in her spare time volunteers for the animal shelter on Saturdays, for example? (And all the working moms said, “Spare time? I make time!”)

Of course, women can do more than one thing at a time. Of course, women can lead without devaluing men.

Women bring smart policy solutions to the table. Women bring the experience of managing the multiple priorities of their own businesses and households to the table. Louisiana needs the ideas, talent, and passion that women have to move our state forward.

Would-be candidates for office are encouraged to apply for LEAD’s two-day campaign boot camp that will teach everything needed to run for office with confidence and competence. Apply at louisianawomenlead.org by the deadline, Friday.

Renee Amar of Baton Rouge is founder and executive director of Louisiana Women Lead.

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