-TRACY, CALIFORNIA, For immediate release. 

By Dotty Nygard and Virginia Madueno

Women are still facing the same discrimination we have been facing for decades!

It was less than 100 years ago that women won our right to vote. It was less than 50 years ago that women won our right to our own medical and family planning choices. Recently, women have decided that #TimesUp and revived the decade-old #MeToo movement to come forward with our stories of sexual assault and harassment while demanding accountability at all levels. Women are still fighting for their equal rights.

To make true progress, we know we must denounce the inequalities that continue to plague women in all arenas - including politics. Even though women are half the population; only 20% are in Congress, 25% in state legislatures and 21% of mayors are women, the numbers are far less for women of color. Entities like Emerge, Emily's List, and Close the Gap and others have put tremendous effort into recruiting and preparing women to run for office, but we are still missing the goal of equal representation.

In District 10, there are three well-qualified women running for Congress who have all been elected to public office in the district, who have dedicated a lifetime of service to our community, and who possess unique backgrounds and skills across the spectrum of democratic values. This is why we are left scratching our heads when we can recognize the need and enthusiasm for getting more women elected, but we see members of the Stanislaus County Women's Democratic Club choose the only two men, who have not held an elected office or served THIS community, as their top two choices.

Is it that we are trying to figure out if women are capable of rising to the occasion? Neither of the men have been questioned about their ability to campaign while still working, how they could handle family, business, and Congress, nor are they as harshly questioned on their resumes and qualifications. Could it be that we are once again victims of a systemic disadvantage when it comes to funding our campaigns because we have chosen to serve our communities rather than rising up the ladder of wealth through patriarchal connections?

We thank the Stanislaus County Women's Democratic Club for hosting the forum, but we left perplexed as it appears that we have gone back in time; choosing and trusting men with money over the women who have fought for decades in this community for the best interests of its members.

Note: For the record, Sue Zwalen also a candidate for CD10 was asked to contribute to this letter but chose not to participate in writing this letter.