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Gingersnap
05-23-2011, 10:37 AM
When it's time to run for office, fewer women stand up

In Los Angeles as elsewhere, fewer women seek election. More may be looking at careers in business, and they may dislike the coarseness of campaigning.


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May 23, 2011

Fifteen people sit on the Los Angeles City Council. It's possible that in a few months, only one will be a woman. In a few years, there could be none.

If City Councilwoman Janice Hahn wins a July runoff election for a South Bay congressional seat, Jan Perry will be the council's lone female. And Perry must surrender her seat in 2013 because of term limits.

Eleven years ago, a third of the desks lining the council chamber's ornate horseshoe were filled by women. The steady decline reflects a broader trend across the nation, where the proportion of women officeholders has been flat-lining or slipping.

The number of women sworn in to Congress this year fell for the first time in 30 years, leaving women with just 16% of congressional seats.

And the number of female lawmakers in state capitals decreased by 81 this year, the largest percentage drop in decades.

The prominence of women like Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin on the national stage may give a false impression of the political influence women wield and ease pressure on women to run for office. That could be especially true in California, where both United States senators, several members of Congress, the attorney general and secretary of state are women.

"I think that the average person could get fooled into thinking we have more representation than we actually do," said Katherine Spillar, vice president of Feminist Majority, an organization that promotes equality for women.

Read the whole thing.

LA Times (http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-council-women-20110523,0,2795052.story)