BPW Foundation's Women Misbehavin' Blog

Well behaved women never make history

Ladies Night

Posted by egehl on June 11, 2010

Political commentators dubbed this week’s primary election as “ladies night”.  That’s because women swept high-profile races around the country.  The primary fights were tough, and turned out to be a big night for women.

A potential boost for women in this year’s election may lie in the anti-incumbent mood of voters.  Male lawmakers, just by their sheer dominance, are more vulnerable, while female candidates are often perceived as outsiders.

Tuesday’s wins included Senate incumbent Democrat Blanche Lincoln, who had the toughest fight of her political career, and won by appealing to independents.  The South Carolina GOP gubernatorial contest captured national attention because of accusations directed toward Nikki Haley of extramarital affairs.  Despite those allegations, Republican candidate Nikki Haley Haley led the race but fell short of the 50 percent threshold needed to avoid a runoff election, scheduled for June 22. She’ll face Representative Gresham Barrett.

Two wealthy business women in California captured two races—Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina.  California Republican voters chose these two women to vie for two of the state’s highest seats.   Meg Whitman will face Attorney General Jerry Brown for the Governor’s office, and Carly Fiorina will take on Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) for her seat.  Finally, in Nevada Tea Party-backed Sharron Angle beat the GOP establishment candidate to earn the right to take on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in November.

I was dismayed to see Carly Fiorina’s blooper when she was caught on tape making snide comments about Meg Whitman and Barbara Boxer.  Yet again, women are our own worst enemies.  We should be measured by our brains not our looks, so it doesn’t help when women continue to tear each other down based on appearance. 

Women represent change and that’s a good thing for both political parties.  Despite women now outnumbering men in the workplace and colleges enrolling more women, equality in politics has been very slow-paced.  These victories for women need to be noted, as Congress is still only 14 percent female while only 6 of 50 state governors are women. 

In particular, Republican women made their mark on Tuesday night and they could be on their way to catching up with Democrats, who have historically had more women in office.  While the wins begin to turn around the Republican party’s reputation as a male bastion, they still have a long way to go.  The GOP still has plenty of catching up to do in recruiting women candidates – even if many of those candidates play down their gender.

Nevertheless this latest primary indicates a tide could be turning.  These victories for women show that the Republican party is gaining ground and that could help bring gender equity in politics closer to reality.

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One Response to “Ladies Night”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by BPW Foundation, Debbie Frett . Debbie Frett said: RT @WomenMisbehavin: Election night was ladies night. Nice that focus has been on the issues and not the gender. http://bit.ly/9XAvx3 […]

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