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USA: Would more women in politics make for better political discourse?

Christine Todd Whitman single handedly halted Bill Bradley’s presidential aspirations when she nearly beat him in a Senate race in 1990. A then unknown sacrificial lamb against an incumbent Hall of Fame basketball star. She lost by two percentage points.

“I think any man who had come that close to taking down a giant like Bill Bradley would have not had a primary for the gubernatorial nomination,” she recalled. “I had a three-way primary.”

Whitman went on to win that primary, and two gubernatorial elections, but she says, as she looks at the political landscape for women today, not much has changed from male-dominated 1990 New Jersey. The state still has had only one female governor.

“Unfortunately, but we have the potential to do better, and, in this election to turn that around, but we haven’t done as well as we could or should,” said Whitman. “I mean we have some extraordinary, bright, capable women in this state and unfortunately we haven’t seen the kind of access to positions of high decision making open for them in the way that I would’ve liked to have seen.”

A look at the state legislature finds 11 women in the 40-seat State Senate and just 25 of 80 women in Assembly seats. Only seven of the 42 county political party chairs are women. At a panel discussion hosted by the Women’s Empowerment Network, Whitman and several other politically active women shared their thoughts on why women – 50 percent of the population – make up such a small percentage of elected officials and what needs to happen for that to change.

Click here to read the full article published by NJTV News on 29 June 2017. 

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