For a Woman to Reach the White House, 2012 Elections Will Be Key
"Finding Madame President" announced an article by the Center for American Women and Politics on the front page of the Outlook section of Sunday's Washington Post. In light of the death of Geraldine Ferraro, the history-making former vice presidential candidate, it seems renewed attention has been placed on the legacy of and potential for women leaders.
The upcoming 2012 elections could be pivotal in bringing new female faces into the political picture, but many roadblocks still stand in the way. The 2010 cycle brought the first decline in the number of women in Congress in nearly three decades and in state legislatures nationwide, the number of women legislators dropped by a full percentage point. Meanwhile, the party system continues as an old boys’ network, retaining its grip on power. Adding to the challenge, about a third of female state representatives say someone tried to discourage them from running — most often an officeholder or party official.
In a study of state legislators conducted by our organization, the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP) at Rutgers University, almost twice as many women as men said they decided to run only after it was suggested to them, while nearly twice as many men as women said the decision to run was entirely theirs. We frequently observe that men are apt to wake up, look in the mirror and think, “I’d make a great state senator!” Female candidates more often need to be recruited.
It is evident that the election of more women won’t happen on its own, but WAND PAC is committed to doing our part to ensure that 2012 is a step forward for our advancement. As the election approaches, check back to our site to see how we all can do our part.