Volumne 12, Issue No. 1
February 4, 2014

Increasing Women in Politics and Advocacy

Did you know, in …….

1955 Consuelo Bailey, a Vermont Republican, became the first woman ever elected lieutenant governor of a state. Since she had previously served as speaker of the state House of Representatives, she thus became the only woman in the country ever to preside over both chambers of a state legislature.
1964 Senator Margaret Chase Smith, a Maine Republican, was nominated for the presidency by Vermont Senator George Aiken at the Republican national convention. Elected to the House of Representatives in 1940 (to replace her dying husband) and the Senate in 1948, Smith had already made history by becoming the first woman to serve in both houses of Congress.
1968 Shirley Chisholm, a New York Democrat, became the first Black woman to serve in Congress, remaining in the House of Representatives until 1982.
1978 Nancy Landon Kassebaum, a Kansas Republican, was elected to the United States Senate. Prior to her election, all of the women who served in the Senate had succeeded their husbands in Congress or had first been appointed to fill out unexpired terms.
1980 For the first time, a national party’s nominating convention delegates included equal numbers of men and women.
1984 Third-term Congresswoman Geraldine A. Ferraro (D-NY), secretary of the House Democratic Caucus, became the first woman ever to run on a major party’s national ticket as Walter F. Mondale’s Vice Presidential running mate.

In 2012, 90 women serve in the U.S. Congress, 17 in the Senate and 73 in the House. The proportion of women in state elected positions is 23.3 percent.  At the halfway mark in primary voting for the 2012 elections, women are on track to break the all-time record for the number of general election candidates for U.S. House seats, based on calculations by the 2012 Project, a campaign of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University.

History reveals that when women run, they win, yet growth in numbers of women in elected office has not sustained an increase over time. One study suggests the reason is a gender gap resulting from women not possessing the same political ambition as men. In this instance, political ambition is defined as “having considered running for office”. Recruitment to run is often all that is necessary and some women in elected positions are stepping up to provide that support. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) has been hosting a series of events coined “Off the Sideline”, encouraging women to make a difference in their communities through voting, advocating for causes, fighting for economic parity and empowerment, and becoming candidates for political office.

Off the Sidelines June 13 2012AOn June 13th, representatives from ANA attended one of these events at the Washington, DC home of Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA).  ANA Individual Member Division (IMD) Chair, Kathleen Lamaute (NY) and ANA staff/member, Janet Haebler joined a full house of individuals from a variety of backgrounds committed to this cause. ANA’s commitment to growing political leaders is also evident through delivery of an annual year-long mentored program, the American Nurses Advocacy Institute (ANAI). Twenty four slots are available each year for nurses who have dedicated themselves to their state nurses association and/or ANA in the policy or grassroots arenas.  Interested parties should contact their state nurses association to learn if they qualify. Additional information can be obtained by contacting,  Janet.Haebler@ana.org .

Below see more fun facts regarding women in politics.

1985 Madeline Kunin, a Democrat, was elected Governor of Vermont. She became the first woman to serve three terms as Governor (1985-1991).
1986 Barbara Ann Mikulski, a Maryland Democrat, became the first Democratic woman elected to the Senate without previously filling an unexpired Congressional term. She was re-elected in 1992, 1998, and 2004.
1987 Kay Orr, a Republican from Nebraska, was the first Republican woman elected governor of a state, as well as the first woman to defeat another woman in a gubernatorial race.
1997 Madeleine K. Albright, became the first woman to serve as U.S. Secretary of State, serving from 1997-2001.
2001 Hillary Rodham Clinton became the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate from New York, the only First Lady ever elected to public office.
2001 Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was elected by her colleagues as House Democratic Whip, the highest-ranking woman in the history of the U.S. Congress.
2003 Arizona became the first state where a woman governor succeeded another woman governor.
2005 Washington State became the first state to have both a woman governor (Christine Gregoire, D) and two women serving in the U.S. Senate (Patty Murray, D and Maria Cantwell, D).
2007 Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) became the first woman to serve as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.
2008 Karen Bass (D-CA) becomes the first woman of color to serve as speaker of a state house.
2011 Two women of color, both Republicans elected in November 2010, took office as governors, the first women chief executives in any states. Susana Martinez, a Latina, became governor of New Mexico, and Nikki Haley, an Asian American, became governor of South Carolina.

Janet Haebler, MSN, RN

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