Just got a post-election e-mail from the Southeastern Institute for Women in Politics, which had also hit me with releases a number of times before Tuesday. Here’s the gist:
Congratulations to all of the brave female candidates running in South
Carolina and their support teams. Women made progress in the South Carolina
House of Representatives, increasing their numbers from 13 to 17, though still
down from a peak of 20 in 1992. Women were elected across South Carolina to
local offices including solicitor and the first female mayor for Cayce, Elise
While South Carolina women offered for federal, state and local
offices in record numbers during the 2008 election cycle, fewer than hoped
succeeded at the polls in November.
The list of winners includes 10
incumbent representatives and 6 newcomers:
J. Anne Parks*
Laurie Slade Funderburk*
Annette D. Young*
|House District 115
House District 23
House District 64
House District 66
House District 78
House District 87
House District 36
House District 108
House District 22
House District 52
House District 97
House District 98
The Challenges Ahead
No women were elected to the South Carolina Senate, returning that chamber to
an all-male bastion not seen in more than 30 years. South Carolina is also the
only state in the nation lacking women in its senate.
Institute for Women in Politics, a non-profit organized to attract, encourage
and train women to run and win, delivered hundreds of thousands of email
messages about available candidates in an effort to create visibility for female
and responses to specific questions were posted on the Institute’s website
to help educate South Carolina voters regarding choices.
Members of the
board of directors vowed to move into the 2010 and 2012 election cycles
aggressively, beginning with recruitment and training as early as February,
And I find myself wondering. Does it make a difference to YOU that there are no women in the Senate, or that there are four more in the House? If so, why? If not, why not?
I ask because I just don’t generally think in these terms. If the best candidate is a woman that’s who we endorse. If not, we don’t. We certainly wouldn’t choose a candidate BECAUSE she’s a woman, any more than we’d reject her on that basis. Nikki Haley was a stronger candidate that Ed Gomez. Margaret Gamble was strong, but not as strong as Nikki Setzler. Based on the evidence, I guess you’d say we’re more likely to endorse a candidate on the basis of whether his/her name is "Nikki," rather than gender.
Gender doesn’t matter any more than party, in terms of determining which is the better candidate.
Not that I don’t believe men and women are different. I noticed a while back that they are. In fact, when folks try to equate gender issues to race issues, I tend to object by saying, "Boys and girls are different; black people and white people are not." I’m not arguing necessarily for doing like Will Stockdale in "No Time for Sergeants" and saying I don’t notice whether it’s a man or a wawmun; I just see a lieutenant.
But I’m not recalling offhand when gender ever caused me to pick one candidate over another.