How a Record Number of Women Running for NYC Mayor is Giving Businesses Hope

Though NYC has seen a diverse set of mayors govern the city over the last century, NYC has never elected a woman. Given the current political climate and the scandal with Andrew Cuomo, this may be the year that finally brings us a real change. As the amount of female-led companies and women entrepreneurs increases, some businesses are hoping a female NYC mayor can bring about the changes necessary to save NYC’s economy.

Although primaries aren’t until June and the election isn’t due for another nine months, campaigns have already kicked off for the NYC mayoral race, with 40 individuals filing the necessary paperwork to become contenders. Among those 40, we count at least 12 women, which is a record for New York. You can find a full list of women running here.

In case anyone needs a recap: due to the pandemic, small businesses have suffered all around the country, including in NYC, where communities rely on these businesses for everything from jobs to entertainment. For women, the pandemic has been tougher, with women facing a million more job losses than men according to recent statistics.

Many entrepreneurs are hoping for an equitable way to recover their businesses as well as the economy. Some see a change in leadership as the necessary answer. Not just any leadership, but one that can empathize and bring fresh solutions to the table.

For other female-run businesses, seeing so many women in the running for a mayoral race is simply an inspiration. It is meaningful for everyone to see these glass ceilings shatter.

“I love seeing women running for mayor because any woman in power – or working to be in power – is a positive for other young women and girls. I looked up to women entrepreneurs before I became a founder, and I know others do as well,” stated Lindsey Allard, Co-Founder & CEO of PlaybookUX.

The list of candidates is extensive, and although many businesses would like to see a woman elected as NYC mayor, to most, the right candidate is the one that can address their concerns on reopening, safety, childcare, healthcare, taxes, and actual issues.

Aysha Saeed, of the slow fashion brand for women AYSHA NY said, “I have spoken to some of the female mayoral candidates about the struggles and silver linings of being an entrepreneur in the city during COVID-19, and it is inspiring that we have so many women running. What I noticed is their collaborative spirit when it comes to speaking with entrepreneurs. They want to understand what our challenges are and how they can help. They realize that entrepreneurs are the backbone of NYC’s economy, especially the fashion industry and Garment Center. Our area was hit so hard. Many independent brands were forced to move outside of NYC or some even had to shut down. So many factories and suppliers are struggling too due to lack of orders. While larger big box companies are cutting jobs and scaling back, small business owners continue to create new jobs and, without us, the economy becomes stagnant. From past conversations, it sounds like they want to bring more everyday voices like ours to the table to help create new policies that support us vs big corporations only.”

“I’m super excited about how many women are running for the NYC mayor job and how they can push for more affordable childcare in the city. The average cost of a daycare in NYC is more than $2,200/month (according to real data on our site), and families in the city need more affordable options ASAP. The pandemic has only made the situation worse and many women are unable to go back to work due to a lack of options. We’re hoping to see more subsidized care and more support for smaller home-based daycares that allow families more options,” explained Dana Levin-Robinson, CEO of UpFront daycare services.

Candidates for NYC mayor range from liberal incumbents like Maya Wiley, a professor of urban policy at The New School and a former attorney, to democrat Cleopatra Fitzgerald, to real-housewives star Barbara Kavovit. The women represent different political parties and hold a variety of positions as business owners, politicians, and lawyers. Some campaigns are considered more serious than others, as with any election. What this range of candidates does give us is a fresh look at women politicians. It gives us a range of choices. Each candidate has their own ideas, background, and supporters. Sometimes when we think of women politicians we have a limited view. Though there’s no shortage of them in the United States, there is a certain pressure on female politicians to cater specifically to women’s issues to gather votes. What we’re seeing currently in NYC is a list of female candidates who are so different that it humanizes the idea of women as politicians. With this range of beliefs and agendas, voters can feel like they’re supporting the politician, rather than a gender-binary norm.

According to Blaire Brown, Brand Strategist, at blairebrown.com, “Having an increased amount of women running for office will build up female empowerment initiatives across the board. As a female entrepreneur myself that specializes in helping women business owners with their marketing strategies, I predict that there will be a major  increase in women working towards becoming self-employed, and starting their own businesses. Seeing a woman in office, even just running for office, opens up the eyes of women– both young and old –that they too can take risks and follow their dreams. We live in an incredible time that women are unstoppable, and seeing more women running for office reaffirms this.”

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Yelena Mandenberg is the Ideas Editor at Grit Daily with a passion for news of all sorts. Finishing Brooklyn College with a degree in Print Media Journalism as the industry died out, she began working as a freelancer. After spending some time working in the retail industry, Yelena started BK Riot Writing, a marketing company that caters to small and local businesses, creating content that helps them compete.  From her South Brooklyn apartment where she lives with her cat & tortoise, Yelena is always seeking something new and interesting to cover.

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