I thought this was a joke when I read it… but no, it’s not. A sizeable faction in Pennsylvania is pushing for GENDER to be a consideration as the state’s legislative map is being redrawn.
Via Real Clear Politics:
"Women may lose ground in this redistricting process," said Dana Brown, the executive director of Chatham University's Center for Women and Politics.
Brown and others noted that Pennsylvania ranks 42nd among states in that regard, with women comprising just 17.4 percent of the Legislature.
Heather Arnet, executive officer of Pittsburgh-based Women and Girls Foundation, noted that it's a longstanding problem, since Pa. ranked 43rd among states in 1975.
About 15 politicians and members of the public spoke at the heading at the Duquesne University School of Law, and several also asked that Pittsburgh's House District 22 be kept intact.
Ugh… so many angry thoughts… where… to… begin…
- Gerrymandering sucks. Period. It's been called "incumbent protection" for a reason.
- Pretty sure the various people complaining about “not enough women in politics” have a specific kind of woman in mind. If Michelle Bachmann, Sarah Palin, Christine O’Donnell, Sharron Angle, or any one of a number of other conservative women were their representatives, I’m fairly certain they’d have a stroke. At the end of the day, you want to be represented by the best official whose views most closely mirror your own… not whose below-the-belt bits most closely resemble yours. (I wrote about this in the Martha Coakley-Scott Brown election in Massachusetts a few years ago.)
- Finally, and the most obviously: elections happen on a REGULAR BASIS. So a bunch of men in districts today doesn’t mean that men will hold these seats forever. According to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers, the 2010 elections had a record number of women run filed to run for the House and Senate – but many of them didn’t make it through their primaries. The mere fact that these women are out there in increasing numbers, however, is pretty cool.
If you have a problem with the number of women in elected office – start there. Encourage more women to run (see the Women’s Campaign Fund’s “She Should Run” program as an example). Term limit the existing guys out of office. But for pete’s sake, don’t draw districts to create safe seats for women.
Women are capable of fighting, running, and winning seats on their own merit. To try and give them a leg up (which implies that they need that extra little bit of help) is a slap in the face for equality.