November 18, 2008

Only Sixteen Percent

The election of Barack Obama was indeed historic, and means a lot to Americans and the World in terms equality of the races. But had Clinton been elected, having a female president-elect would have been just as historic, if not more so.

The NY Times just highlighted this editorial from 1992 about Hillary Clinton as the new first lady. The most striking aspect of the article to me is how little has changed in the past 16 years.

Some quick facts: Women hold 87, or 16.3%, of the 535 seats in the 110th US Congress — 16, or 16.0%, of the 100 seats in the Senate and 71, or 16.3%, of the 435 seats in the House of Representatives. This under representation of women in elected offices is shocking, especially considering how little attention is paid to the discrepancy by the media. In a fair and equal society, our elected officials would be fifty percent women.

Women did not gain the right to vote in the United States until 1920. African Americans gained the right to vote in 1870. Will we have to wait another fifty years before we have a female president of the United States?

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