Cloe Anderson (Center for American Progress)

My desk is ten yards away from the CEO’s office. Her presence is impossible to miss: she is commanding, confident, and charming. She has the people skills to fundraise for our organization, the communication skills to appear on CNN and MSNBC, and the simple brilliance to coordinate and manage one of the most prominent progressive think tanks in America. When she walks by, heads turn – not because she is feared, but rather because she is respected.

During my time in DC, I have noticed the glaring gender gap in politics, yet perhaps even less than my peers on the Hill will notice it. Look at the breakdown of female versus male politicians, and you will note that the lines are not drawn evenly in this city (nor in the nation). Yet women, when they do run for office, are just as likely, if not more likely, to be elected as their male counterparts. Yet women just aren’t appearing on the ballot as often as men. Whether entering the policy industry or not, as a female, finding a woman who inspires you or who you aspire to be like can be extremely valuable. Seeing Hillary Clinton gain the Democratic nomination might just be the push a woman needs to run for office. Sheryl Sandberg may inspire a girl to learn to code in the hopes of working for Google. Beyonce may motivate… well, all of us.

My desk is ten yards away from the CEO’s office. And while my only interaction with her thus far has been handling documents she has signed that were handed to me by her assistant, her intellect and humility are forces to be reckoned with. I’m motivated to work hard at my lowly intern position so that maybe one day, with more confidence and a college degree, I can be in her position, inspiring the summer interns of 2040. Whether she is Elizabeth Warren or Kim Kardashian (I don’t judge), find a woman whom you believe you can model yourself after. DC has taught me that a role model can be a powerful force—especially for women.

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