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Congress Comprised of Fewest Women in 30 Years

 
 
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In terms of sheer numbers, there are dark times ahead for women in Congress.

For the first time in 30 years, the amount of  of women in the house has decreased, with nine representatives losing their seats. And in the Senate, it looks like the number will remain the same at 17, even with Patty Murray's recent win–though if Murkowski somehow gets the shaft in Alaska, that number will decrease as well. Even with all the brouhaha about the so-called mama grizzlies–of Republicans, only three women out of 30 candidates ran on open tickets–Congress is still comprised of only 17 percent women. According to Debbie Walsh, Director for the Center of American Women and Politics at Rutgers, "This year is the first time that it has gone down, it's gone down a little bit, but going down or staying the same if you care about women's participation in politics."

But it goes beyond mere participation. As the Republicans take over the house, and the number of men and women aligned with anti-choice groups such as The Susan B. Anthony Foundation increase, the implications of a lack of female representation are troubling. New Hampshire's Kelly Ayotte, for example, defended parental consent laws during her time as attorney general–and she was propelled to her new seat thanks to cash infusions from the SBA. Similarly, while women made gains across the country in gubernatorial races, they were generally conservatives who toe the tea party line–radically anti-choice, anti-gay rights, steeped in traditional gender roles–not exactly the paths to parity. 

AlterNet / By Julianne Escobedo Shepherd

Posted at November 5, 2010, 6:29am