A few weeks ago, Misty (who still doesn't show up on the Bloghive) asked where all the female bloggers in Utah are hiding. For me, the question grows more relevant each day, as political activism becomes more accessible to anyone with an internet connection.
Perhaps an insight into possible answers (though not "the" answer), at least when it comes to political blogging, is the discussion that took place yesterday at the Politics and the "F" Word: Does Feminism Matter? panel, hosted by the Women's Campaign Forum and NYU Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. Melissa Ryan of MyDD:
Currently women hold just under 25% of elected offices in the United States. How do we get more women elected? And more importantly: How will the agenda change when there are more women holding elected office? Lynne Brown talked about the importance of creating a pipeline of talented women who can work their way up from local to federal office while Julie Menin stressed that having more women in office would lead to more action on issues that matter to women and families saying: "from a woman's right to choose, elder care, and childcare women have unique perspectives."More from the Women's Campaign Forum: She Should Run.
It was the concept of a legislative agenda driven primarily by women that really struck me. Obviously not all women are progressive Democrats, but if women held 75% of elected offices instead of 25% would our government's priorities become more progressive by default? Would Hillary Clinton be the same kind of Senator? Would universal health care, pre-K, even universal daycare pass through State Legislatures or Congress without controversy?
Panelist Janice Min, Editor-In-Chief of US Weekly offered some insight into why more women aren't interested in politics. Her inclusion might seem odd but in a media climate where politicians are turned into celebrities it made perfect sense. I wish that we'd heard more of her perspective, especially since my impression is that she's slightly turned off by politics herself. Ms. Min talked about how young educated women often wouldn't consider even getting politically involved, in part because they think the process is so frustrating that no one can really make a difference.
The solution to this apathy is of course more women candidates.