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Women in the hunt in today's primaries
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Women in the hunt in today's primaries

June 8, 2010, 10:58 am
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Their increasing power may be a force for change
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Women in the hunt in today's primaries
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By Reynold N. Mason Esq.

Atlanta, June 08, 2010 - Women gained the right to vote in 1920 with the passage of the 19th amendment. But until recently this did not translate in to into significant political power. Since 1971 when Jeanette Rankin became the first woman to in congress, there have been just 260 women in the house and senate. Just 33 women have served in the senate, almost all of them since the 1990's. In 2007, a Baylor University study found that Thirty-three (33) percent of Americans think most men are better suited emotionally for politics than women.  Fifty-four (54) percent felt that young children suffer when the mother works and Forty-one (41) percent say it's God's will that women care for children. These attitudes pose challenges for women running for political office.  There has been a slow but steady march of women into the seats of power in Washington and throughout the fifty states. Prior to the 1990's most of the women who served were appointed to fill their deceased husband’s vacant seats. But with the Sarah Palin and Hilary Clinton competing for the two highest political offices in the US in 2008, the contributions and talents of women have taken center stage. Attitudes about women in elective office have seen rapid change.

Today, 92 women hold seats in congress, 17 percent of the 535 seats available. A record 17 women serve in the Senate, and 75 women serve in the House. The number of women in statewide elective executive posts is 72, while the proportion of women in state   legislatures is 24.4 percent. There are six women serving as governors, and four hold attorney general offices.   As of February 2010, of the 100 largest cities in the United States, 7 had women mayors: Baltimore, Md.; Fresno, Calif.; Tampa, Fla.; Stockton, Calif.; Glendale, Ariz.; Chula Vista, Calif.; and, Houston, Texas. And 249 women serve as mayors of cities with populations over 100,000,

Eleven states hold primaries today, and women are contending for high political office is several. In California, Nevada  and South Carolina women are leading in the polls ahead of Tuesday's balloting. In California, which has two women in the senate, two more are leading in races ahead of Tuesday’s primary, Meg Whitman a former CEO of eBay, in the race for governor, and Carly Fiorina, former Hewlett-Packard  CEO, is favored to win the republican primary for the right to face another woman, Barbara Boxer, in November.  In Arkansas, Sharon Angle leads in a three way race for the Republican nomination, and in South Carolina, representative Nikki Haley is favored to come out ahead in the democratic primary. After today’s primaries women may be poised to increase their numbers, power and influence on the American political landscape. Many hope that’s for the better.


Author: Reynold Mason
Reynold N. Mason teaches law courses at Zenover Educational Institute In Atlanta, Georgia. He has been a judge on New York City Civil Court and, a Justice on New York State Supreme Court. Mason has been an adjunct professor of law at Medgar Evers College and Monroe College in New York. He has authored several legal opinions published in New York Miscellaneous Reports and New York Official Reports as well as the New York Law Journal. He lives in Atlanta.
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Women in the hunt in today's primaries
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