News, schools, and views from a uniquely Lowell perspective
9th November 2008

Women making progress in politics

posted in In the News, Local Politics, Women's issues |

Yesterday on WBUR, I heard Caprice Taylor, executive director of EMERGE Massachusetts, an organization dedicated to inspiring Democratic women leadership, talking about the need for women to run for elected office. In spite of Hilary Clinton’s inability to win the Democratic Party’s nomination for the nation’s top job, women across the country, and particularly in New England, continue to make important strides in gaining political leadership. For instance, our neighbor state of New Hampshire now boasts a majority of women elected to its state legislature. Women (11 of whom are Democrats) hold 13 of New Hampshire’s 24 seats—representing the first state legislature in the country to have a female majority.  (Women currently represent about one quarter of the Massachusetts state legislature.) Yet, here in our home state, we’re making historic strides as well. For an update on how women in Massachusetts fared during last week’s election, check the Mass. Women’s Political Caucus, a non-partisan group committed to increasing women’s involvement in politics. The good news is that even without the top job, women leaders are not alone or afraid to help each other.  In the Merrimack Valley, Congresswomen Niki Tsongas, as well as other elected women, endorsed newly elected State Representative Jen Benson, chair of the Lunenberg School Committee, in her race for Jamie Eldridge’s former seat. As relative newcomers to politics, first-time female candidates need the support and encouragement of established elected women—just as their male counterparts have enjoyed for centuries. I am not an “all-women-always voter” (ideology and candidate matter most), but I believe women, in general, bring strengths, sensibilities, and skills (such as consensus building) that we desperately need, and a balanced governing body is more effective.

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