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More Women Elected to Congress Than Ever Before

More women are moving into the U.S. House and Senate than ever before, according to a Washington Post article. In the past few months, Lois Capps (D), Mary Bono (R) and Barbara Lee (D) were all voted into the House of Representatives in California special elections, increasing the number of women in the House to 55, almost 13% of the 439 Delegates and Members. Democrats have 39 women in the House, while Republicans have 16 female legislators. There are currently nine women and 91 men in the Senate.

Republican and Democratic Congresswomen, however, argue that it is difficult to move into leadership roles such as committee chairpersons. “There’s not been an inch of progress made that I can determine,” said Rep. Louise M. Slaughter (D-NY), who lost a struggle to serve as the ranking member on the House Budget Committee to Rep. John M. Spratt Jr. (D-SC). “The party’s taken the women’s vote for granted. When you look at the Republicans, in comparison, it’s really quite astounding.”

Although the Republican party has done more to place its women in such positions, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) commented, “The real issue is Republicans are recognizing the corner Democrats have on women and family issues.” She said, “They’re still not feminist. They’re anti-feminist.”

Republican Conference Secretary Deborah Pryce recently founded VIEW PAC, a political action committee, to help raise funds for Republican female candidates. Emily’s List, the pro-choice Democratic PAC that raises campaign contributions, builds campaigns and mobilizes women voters in support of pro-choice Democratic female candidates, is in its 13th year. Emily’s List has helped six pro-choice women in the Senate, 44 pro-choice women in the House and three pro-choice women governors get elected.

Sources:

Washington Post - April 29, 1998

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