According to The Week magazine the results of the recent election will bring the number of women in the U. S. Senate to 20, up from 17 in this past session, and the number of women in the House of Representatives up to 80 from 78.
In both cases, it will mean a record number of women serving in the U. S. Congress.
Women have been making steady gains in politics ever since 1992, according to Bloomberg Businessweek, when controversial confirmation hearings embroiled Supreme Court candidate Clarence Thomas in sexual harassment charges brought by Anita Hill. Many women were disgusted by the hearings, and turned their anger and frustration into political action. The next election, dubbed The Year of the Woman, brought a then-record seven women into the U. S. Senate. And women have been making progress ever since.
|Tammy Baldwin (D, WI)|
|Elizabeth Warren (D, MA)|
|Mazie Hirono (D, HI)|
|Heidi Heitkamp (D, ND)|
|Deb Fischer (R, NE)|
"It's partly a pipeline problem," according to The Week. Women take up only about a quarter of the seats in state legislatures, which in effect serve as a farm league for Congressional candidates. But of course women also face the usual career impediments involving family issues. And according to some surveys a lot of potential women candidates are especially put off pursuing politics by the intense scrutiny and political partisanship of the media, with coverage that's too personal, too negative and too stereotyped.