As the first woman in U.S. history to fly a fighter aircraft in combat and command a fighter squadron, I know first-hand the challenges, biases, harassment, and discrimination women in our country face. I managed to break through these glass ceilings along with many other trail-blazing women who figured out how to succeed in a very male-dominated environment. Now, I want to continue fighting for women’s rights in Congress.
I fought for eight years to overturn a Pentagon policy requiring U.S. servicewomen to wear Muslim garb when off base in Saudi Arabia. After more than six years, I was ordered to follow these demeaning and discriminatory policies and threatened to be court-martialed if I did not comply. I complied for 13 months while continuing to advocate for a policy change, then put my career on the line and filed McSally vs Rumsfeld in court. I then shepherded legislation that was unanimously passed in the House and Senate and signed by the president to overturn the policy once and for all.
I have a record of passionately advocating for women and girls in our community, country, and others. I was handpicked to help Botswana integrate women into their military for the first time in history. I also led efforts to improve the plight of women in uniform in Sierra Leone, Swaziland, and Lesotho. As a Professor at the Marshall Center, I lectured and mentored senior officials from other countries on the value of educating girls, giving women economic opportunities, and including them completely in the security structure.
I am extensively published on women in the military and in combat, winning the Military Officers Association of America Leadership Award for my Air War College paper on women in combat.
I served as a Commissioner on the Pima County/Tucson Women’s Commission and was a founding board member of My Girl Power™, a non-profit organization focused on empowering girls K-12 in the Tucson community.
As someone who has fought for women my entire life, I know first-hand that women still face many hurdles to equal treatment in our society. This is unacceptable, and I will continue to work to ensure that women have every opportunity-whether it’s in the workplace, the home, or the military-that men have.
I support equal pay for equal work, preventing violence against women, standing up for victims of sexual assault, and demanding leadership in the military to transform the culture I know first-hand that devalues women in uniform and creates an environment that leads to sexual harassment and assault. I was disheartened to see so many Republicans reject legislation that would improve services for victims of violent assault and diminish subtle pay discrimination, and believe these should be non-partisan issues that all lawmakers should support.
We still have work to do to ensure women have the same opportunities as men in our country, which is why we need leadership willing to fight for better opportunities for girls and women. Sometimes the “best man for the job” to fight for women is a woman, and I’ll wake up fighting for women in this community every day.