Women and Politics

A blog from WCF about the state of women and politics

Women Need an Establishment of Their Own

Have you ever wondered why women’s political progress has stagnated? Why in the year 2010 we only have 17 women serving in the U.S. Senate?

While there are many factors behind the continuing gender gap, yesterday’s primary elections reveal one of the biggest problems: Our current political structure repeatedly prevents women candidates from succeeding.

Already this year, we have seen too many talented female candidates be ignored, cast off, and even attacked by their own party. (Read: Dede Scozzafava, Colleen Hanabusa). But WCF’s endorsed candidates forge ahead anyway—determined to overcome the odds stacked against them by the political establishment.

Secretary Jennifer Brunner’s run for U.S. Senate provides a classic example of the political system failing a strong woman.

We watched as she boldly defied the establishment—who told her to drop out, give up, and bow down. Brunner ran a tenacious grassroots campaign across Ohio and earned 44% of the vote last night.

She fought the full weight of the Democratic establishment and showed that courage and conviction can be a formidable opponent to money and influence. However, she will be sorely missed in the U.S. Senate, and Ohio still hasn’t seen its first female Senator.

Much like Brunner, U.S. Senate candidate from North Carolina, Secretary Elaine Marshall, was outspent and underestimated in her primary. However, I’m proud to say that Marshall was the top vote-getter yesterday,  garnering 38% of the vote. This tough candidate is ready to tackle the runoff election in June—and WCF will be behind her every step of the way.

We will also firmly stand with our candidates who won their primaries last night, and will continue onto the November elections:

Patsy Keever, North Carolina House of Representatives, District 115
Rep. Marcia Fudge, U.S. House of Representatives, District 11
Rep. Betty Sutton, U.S. Representatives, District 13

Also continuing to the general elections, running unopposed yesterday, are:

Commissioner Paula Brooks, U.S. House of Representatives, District 12
Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy, U.S. House of Representatives, District 15

We are saddened to report losses for the following candidates, and we encourage them to run again at the earliest possible opportunity. We all need these women in government:

Tamela Lee, Ohio State Senate, District 27
Rosemary Palmer, Ohio State House of Representatives, District 16

In addition to all these great WCF candidates, Jennifer Brunner and Elaine Marshall especially provide shining examples of why WCF exists—to support women who make the decision to run for office—despite the odds, and even when the system gets in their way.

WCF is here to help clear the path, chop through the weeds, and guide talented women through their candidacy—women who exceed expectations at every turn, forge their own path through the political wilderness, and light the way for those who follow.

To ensure the elimination of our political gender gap, WCF continues to use a different political paradigm for women candidates—one that rewards leadership and courage, and does not bow to the conventional model that stagnates women’s political progress. A league of our own, you could say.

I hope anyone who believes in the need for women’s political equality will stand together in 2010 and beyond to build a new political system that works for women—not against them.

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