Thursday, August 16, 2007

Hillary Agonistes?

I can't decide if I want to go see Nick Salamone's new play, Hillary Agonistes, or not. Interesting comment in Patrick Healy's piece about it in the NYTimes: "[T]he iconography of Mrs. Clinton, like the woman herself, seems to have been around forever." In truth, I think the iconography was around before the woman herself.

All eyes may be focused on Hill these days, but meanwhile, the number of women in political leadership seems to have once again leveled off, according to research findings cited in an article in yesterday's Wall Street Journal:
[A]lthough women hold a quarter of all seats in state legislatures, "we've hit a plateau," says Debbie Walsh, director of the Center for American Women and Politics, a public-policy institute at New Jersey's Rutgers University.

The bottom line: While women will cast about 53% of the votes in November 2008, based on the past two presidential elections, their share of elective offices seems to have leveled off at about one in six at the federal level, and one in four in the state capitals.
The reason for the slowdown, according to the article? Simple. Women remain less likely to run for public office than men:
They first need to be recruited and assured of their qualifications, research shows. "Women tend to run because they're concerned about an issue; they don't wake up thinking they want to be governor the way men do," says Jeanne Shaheen, a former three-term governor of New Hampshire who is now the director of Harvard University's Institute of Politics.
Regardless of what we think of Hillary Clinton, it's time to tackle the confidence gap, ladies, and take a page from Hill's book. But wait - does this mean the external obstacles are all cleared up? Inquiring minds want to know.

(Thanks to Marco for the heads up.)

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