Caitlin Donohue’s book about women politicians describes their challenges as well as successes. (Courtesy Chelsea Starr)

Caitlin Donohue’s book about women politicians describes their challenges as well as successes. (Courtesy Chelsea Starr)

‘She Represents’ tells stories of modern women politicians

Book for teens digs deeper than ‘girl power’ volumes

“She Represents: 44 Women Who Are Changing Politics … and the World” is a journalistic-style book for teens containing profiles of 44 women in politics and their path to leadership. Author Caitlin Donohue, a San Francisco native, spotlights prominent female figures on different sides of the political spectrum. such as Congresswoman Maxine Waters and U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.

“I think this new generation has had it. They’re concerned about their future and our planet. They’re not willing to put up with the same [stuff],” said Donohue. “I want to make sure that these teens have the knowledge that they need to continue to be the incredible leaders that they are.”

“She Represents” includes a diverse list of women that introduces readers to unfamiliar names in politics such as Virginia House Delegate Danica Roem and Minneapolis Councilwoman Andrea Jenkins. Both made history when they were elected in 2018 with Roem being the first openly trans state representative elected in the U.S.; Jenkins was the first trans woman elected to a major U.S. city council and the first openly trans Black woman elected into public office in the U.S. Her city council has fixated news outlets since it announced plans to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department in the wake of George Floyd’s killing.

“[Representation] is not just about getting [queer, trans and people of color] into office because it makes us feel good, […] it’s because when they’re there, they make big changes,” said Donohue.

Despite the title and vibrant illustrations by Briana Arrington, Donohue wants to make it clear that “She Represents” isn’t another “girl power” memoir meant to glorify these 44 politicians. Instead, she presents each of the women profiled as the “complicated professionals” that they are.

Donohue mentioned U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a well-known name in the media and politics, as an example of a politician who is treated like a celebrity. Although she thinks AOC is an incredible politician, politicians have to negotiate and make decisions that might not be in line with their political values, and so, it’s up to constituents to hold these admired politicians accountable.

“[Politicians] are complicated just like us, and [they] have very specific life experiences that have led them to have [their] values,” said Donohue. “We have to recognize those values and think about how their life stories lead to their political positions today. I think the more we learn about [politicians] biographies, the more we’re able to understand their positions on current issues and even predict where they’re going to come down on future issues.”

BOOK NOTES: She Represents 44 Women Who Are Changing Politics … and the World

Written by: Caitlin Donohue

Published by: Lerner Books

Pages: 216

Price: $17 (paper), $37 (hard cover)

Info: https://www.donohue.work/she-represents

Literature

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‘She Represents’ tells stories of modern women politicians

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