By Hilary Shepherd
If Rebecca Taylor ran for office, her top two issues would be education and gun control reform. “I’m not American, though,” the New Zealand-born, New York-based womenswear designer laughed, “so President’s out for me.”
Taylor has been vocal about politics before, having participated in the historic Women’s March last January and teaming up with She Should Run, which aims to increase the number of women in politics. “I think now, more than ever, we can’t take our feet off the gas pedal,” she said at La Mercerie yesterday, where she hosted an event with She Should Run founder Erin Loos Cutraro, Goop’s Jean Godfrey June, and Violet Gaynor of The Glow in honor of International Women’s Day. “At a certain point, you have to pick what you’re going to stand behind, and I think now is really the time to mobilize. There are so many smart women who should run for office. I’m like, ‘Just do it! What are you waiting for? We’ll all get behind you.’”
Cutraro, who started She Should Run in 2011, said that while there’s a historic number of women on the ballots this year, women are still not recruited or encouraged to run for office at the same rate as men. Hence, her goal: to get 250,000 women—that’s half the number of elected offices in the United States—in office by the year 2030. “Women aren’t coming into politics with the same built-in networks, infrastructure, and support,” she said. “Don’t assume women have the support or connections they need—we need to help them get there. Because when women run, they win at the same rates as men, but they work twice as hard.”
Since its inception, more than 40,000 women have come to She Should Run with the intention of running for office. And, since the 2016 election, over 16,000 women have joined. “The momentum is real,” Cutraro said. “I think we’ve just reached a breaking point where, as women, we know we have to do something. The answer just can’t be to let things be terrible. We have to fix it, and that’s what’s happening.”
“I feel like I’ve have my mind on politics as much as the next person,” Taylor added, “but I think seeing what’s happened with this current administration, it all becomes much more personal than you could ever imagine politics could be.”
Cutraro said that while this isn’t the first time She Should Run has “done some work” within the fashion industry, this is the first time the D.C.-based organization has partnered with a fashion designer. “I think it’s important to have partnerships outside of politics or the non-profit sector,” she said. “Bringing together thought leaders, entrepreneurs, and creatives can bring about tremendous change, and it’s the only real way we’re going to get 250,000 women running by 2030.
“As any woman in a leadership position knows, it’s a lonely place, so I think it’s absolutely game-changing to see this surge of women who have stepped up,” she continued. “We’re changing the conversation so that little girls aren’t thinking of white men when they think of elected officials.”
In between empowering speeches from Taylor and Cutraro, guests like Hilaria Baldwin, Casey Fremont, Jessie Randall, and Athena Calderone personalized denim from Taylor’s La Vie line and curated floral bouquets from Emily Thompson Flowers.
“I’ve got a girlfriend of mine here—she’s wearing a green dress,” Taylor said. “She’s absolutely brilliant and I need her to meet [Cutraro]. This one should really run.” Talk about girl power.