Thursday, June 5, 2008

Ruth Mandel on Not-So-Sweet 16

NCRW Plenary - Post #1

Ruth Mandel, Eagleton Institute of Politics, is moderating. Snippets from Mandel:

“This year I’ve been reading nonstop about this emotionally, analytically demanding election. When you start your professional career at something called the Center for American Women and Politics at a time when women were fewer than 5 percent of all elected leaders in the country, and then you watch someone run and be taken seriously as a potential presidential nominee by one of the major parties, that, certainly, is coming a distance. But we still have a long distance to go. We’ve started this year at the Center by looking at that number 16 – 16 women in the Senate. That’s not even a quarter. Thirty-seven years after we opened the Center, what does this mean? Sixteen used to be a good number – sweet 16. Not so sweet anymore when we think about that as a level that we’ve seen to arrive at in the political leadership arena after so many years, so much work, so much effort.”

Later, Mandel lists the questions on everyone’s minds:

"What was the impact of gender on HRC’s race? What will HRC do next? What should she do next? What will HRC’s voters do next? What has she achieved beyond this campaign? What’s the legacy of the campaign? Has HRC’s run opened paths for women going into politics? Or has it deterred women from deciding to run, after seeing how she was treated? Why didn’t more young people see HRC’s run as something they wanted to be a part of?"

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