05/15/2012 11:43 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Women: We Want You on the Political Battlefield

If Maggie Hassan, a Democratic candidate for governor in New Hampshire, isn't elected, there will be zero Democratic women governors in the United States. Not one.

When I was fresh out of law school, I had a burning desire to do something important, to have an impact in some way, but I didn't know what it was. I certainly never thought I would run for office myself. If someone had suggested it, I would have laughed out loud.

But sometimes a door opens and you have to gather the courage to run through it.

I was approached by friends who encouraged me to run for an open seat -- attorney general of Michigan. It was a big risk.

My friends -- men affiliated with the Democratic Party -- encouraged me to take that risk.

As did my best friend and husband, who gave me the final gentle push across the threshold. Often we women are risk averse. I needed the push.

Now, more than ever, young women need more seasoned women to provide that encouragement, to take a risk, to go for it. Once a glass ceiling is broken, it stays broken.

The person who broke through cannot simply brush the shards of glass from her hair, kick out the ladder and say, "I got mine, now you go get yours." We have a duty to reach down through the broken glass ceiling and pull other women up.

But without those mentors, we not only end up with zero female Democratic governors, we end up with a war on women -- with men as the only soldiers in the battle. Women: we need you to represent on the battlefield.

So yes, there's risk in putting yourself out there. It's hard. But no worthy battle was ever easy.

Nancy Pelosi speaks about this prayer of an African bishop: "When I stand at last before the face of God, God will say to me, 'Show me your wounds.' And if I say, 'I have no wounds,' God will ask: 'Was there nothing worth fighting for?'"

My greatest wish for you -- women and men -- is that at the end of your life, you have many scars from wounds you received during battles that you waged on behalf of someone or something worth fighting for.

Cross-posted at "The War Room" blog. Jennifer Granholm is the former governor of Michigan and hosts Current TV's "The War Room" (weeknights 9/8c). Follow Jennifer Granholm on Facebook and Twitter and "The War Room" on Facebook and Twitter.