Mo>http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1010/43445.htmlBy MARIN COGAN | 10/12/10 4:44 AM EDT Updated: 10/12/10 10:07 AM EDT
While conservatives are already celebrating the “Year of the Republican Woman,” thanks to a record number of GOP female candidates for Congress, Democrats fear the opposite trend: the year of the women’s wipeout.
Three Democratic women first elected to Congress in 1992 — the original “Year of the Woman” — are at risk. Nearly a quarter of the 56 female Democrats in the House are considered vulnerable, including once rising stars like Ann Kirkpatrick of Arizona, Betsy Markey of Colorado and Mary Jo Kilroy of Ohio.
Even if female GOP hopefuls like Sharron Angle in Nevada, Carly Fiorina in California and Kelly Ayotte in New Hampshire make it to the Senate, the elections will still quite likely bring a net loss of women in Congress.
But the impact will be more than just a gender numbers game: It could have broader implications for policy and the political culture of the Capitol in an era in which women have made a significant impact on the House and the Senate, ranging from passing legislation such as the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to establishing a Democratic Women’s Working Group and holding key committee leadership positions. The impact of more women in Congress has also trickled down to smaller, cultural changes, like installing breast-feeding rooms for new mothers on the Hill.