Women | Tristan Shields


When politicians talk about representing their female constituents, they typically only mention one topic – abortion. I want to broaden the conversation considerably. The reason is today’s politics are all about women’s issues – equality, choice, access, equal pay, healthcare, retirement, education, child care, employment, safety. Women’s voices need to be heard loud and clear (and respected!) in the Virginia House of Delegates.


For the family to be healthy, women need to be healthy. In America, moms, grandmoms, daughters, nieces, daughter-in-laws are often the caregivers of the family. Women provide the lion’s share of support to children and the elderly. They are our silent army of unpaid caregivers. This is not a slight to hardworking men (like myself) or professional healthcare workers. It’s the real world. Whether it’s Medicaid, Medicare or TrumpCare, access to affordable healthcare is crucial for women of all ages.

What does effective healthcare mean for a woman? It means not asking her to make a choice between food or medicine. It means she can choose when to start a family knowing her privacy and dignity are protected. It means having more options than quitting her paying job/career to ensure her ailing Mom or Dad are taken care of. Women’s healthcare is not only about her. It’s about how it fuses with the healthcare choices of her family.

Who knew healthcare policies could be so complicated for women? We need to be smart about incorporating women’s needs into healthcare policy because it’s about a system, a family system.


Robots, AI (artificial intelligence), and automation are slowly (but soon radically) changing the workforce. Tech companies are the drivers of innovation and economic growth. Of the top ten US companies (by market capitalization) half are tech companies: Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Amazon. What does this mean for District 18’s economy and specifically for women?

Automation will not discriminate between men and women. It is rapidly changing the employment market, for example, replacing Walmart’s accounting staff or taking control of management jobs we commute to in DC or Fredericksburg. For women, these changes bring more challenge. In addition to equal pay discrimination, carrying dual roles of caregiver and income provider, she now needs to add continuously acquiring new skills to her resume to keep her employment viable.

As political policy is made to grow the economy, we must incentivize employers to invest in their workers to ensure they are not being left behind, especially women. We need to be smart about Virginia’s economic future by investing in worker “upskilling” in rural areas like District 18.