Detail

November Editorial: Is the Next “Year of the Woman” Upon Us?

Byline: by Caileigh Oliver

Posted: November 16, 2012

After the national election in 1992, headlines declared that it was the “Year of the Woman.” A record-breaking number of women had been elected to the United States Senate, meaning women held six of the 100 available. Even more impressive, 47 of the 106 women running for seats in the US House of Representatives won their elections—24 of them winning for the first time—meaning women held nearly 11-percent of the 435 voting positions in the House.

After the national election in 1992, headlines declared that it was the “Year of the Woman.” A record-breaking number of women had been elected to the United States Senate, meaning women held six of the 100 available. Even more impressive, 47 of the 106 women running for seats in the US House of Representatives won their elections—24 of them winning for the first time—meaning women held nearly 11-percent of the 435 voting positions in the House.

Twenty years down the road it appears that we are entering an even greater year. Five new women were elected into the Senate, bringing the total number of women serving to 23. In the House, 18 new women will be joining the 59 incumbents, bringing the total to 77, breaking the previous record of 73. Furthermore, 54-percent of the voters at the polls were women.

While the numbers seem impressive, and women everywhere have a right to be proud of what we have accomplished, we still have a long way to go. The gender-bias towards women in US politics is still prominent, especially when comparing figures with the rest of the world. The Inter-Parliamentary Union has been compiling data on the number of elected women serving in national legislatures and ranks countries based on the percentage of women who serve—countries with higher percentages being placed towards the top. Based on the numbers as of September 2012, the United States is currently tied with Morocco and Venezuela for the 80th spot.

Yes, you read that right—the US doesn’t even break the top 50 countries. Not surprising, considering that as of September 2012, women held only 17-percent of the seats in the House and 17-percent of the Senate seats.

Some of the countries that rank above us include: Iraq, which is ranked 44 with 25.2-percent of seats held by women; South Africa holds the number 8 spot with 42.3-percent of seats held by women; and the number one rank, with 56.3-percent of seats held by women, is the nation of Rwanda. Rwanda, a country which less than 20 years ago in 1994 went through one of the worst genocides in modern Africa’s history, has the largest number of elected women serving in the national governing body.

Yet things seem to be looking up. This past election, New Hampshire became the first state to elect all women to the national legislature—the U.S. House and Senate—as well as a female governor, Maggie Hassan. Women are becoming more and more active, speaking up about what they believe, and making their presence known.

Wilson students seem to have taken a cue from the rest of the country. This past week, they have been organizing protests in order to try and gain attention with many posters hung around campus echoing the sentiment “Listen to us!”

What result will come from such actions is currently unknown. What can be said is that Wilson students, like women across the country, appear to have found their voice.

Last Updated: February 24, 2013

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