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Quad City leaders call for more female involvement

ROCK ISLAND-- Before Rock Island Alderwoman Kate Hotle's term came to an end, one more point had to be made.

"We do need to see women in leadership and being involved so we have representation across our whole community," says Hotle.

After that message a new council formed, not a single woman in sight.

It comes down to numbers in every Quad City community. Representation between men and women is not equal.

Take the five school boards for example in Moline, East Moline, Rock Island, Davenport and Bettendorf. Out of 35 total members, 14 are women. That's about 40-percent.

And there's even less representation on the five city councils. Only eight of 39 aldermen are women. That's 20-percent.

It took Moline almost 170 years to elect a female mayor. Stephanie Acri became the city's first this week.

The women we talked with say the imbalance not only hurts the present, it also hurts the next generation of leaders.

"It's incredibly important for young people of all ages to see women making decisions, women having their voices heard," says Moline school board vice president Sangeetha Rayapati.

Woman to woman, leaders say it's time for girls to get involved.

"I would absolutely say women should run for every office. Even if you aren't ready to run yourself, you can get involved with another women's campaign in general," says Davenport alderwoman Maria Dickman.

They say it will help make a difference for everyone.

"My message would be to not let fear stop you, that there are a lot of things and ways we talk ourselves out of getting involved. Then that's too bad for not only yourself, but the community at large," says Rayapati.