What is Being Said About Women in American Politics

| Thu Nov. 9, 2006 12:06 PM EST

The number of women in U.S. government will be at least 70 in the House, 16 in Senate and nine in governorships. This changing in the ranks is being touted by some as the next step towards the election of a woman president.

Melanie Reid of the UK's Herald wrote:

It's a no-brainer. Until there are enough women leaders, they will continue to receive the wrong kind of scrutiny. When there are more women on the playing field, there will be less emphasis on gender, appearance or spouse - and a sharper focus on what they're actually saying"

According to recent polls, nearly 3 out of 5 New Yorkers think Senator Hillary Clinton would make a good president. And a recent CBS-New York Times poll found that 92% of Americans would vote for a woman from their political party -- if they thought she was qualified.

The tide may be turning, but -- in light of the increased popularity of Botox -- women in American politics will likely have to contend with speculations on their appearances. Both Sen. Clinton and Rep. Nancy Pelosi have been alleged to have undergone plastic surgery, and have undergone some fashion criticism from the press. Most recently, the Guardian described Pelosi as "an Armani clad...left winger of the caricaturists' dreams."

Women in Congress are expected to address issues about family. According to the New Jersey Star-Ledger, the increased number of women in Congress will mean increased focus on minimum wage, stem cell research and health care policies.

While most women elected were Democrats, several of the incumbents elected are Republicans, including Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle. On election night, Lingle said increasing affordable housing, reducing the cost of living and improving education would be her top priorities.

--Caroline Dobuzinskis

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