Instead of focusing on the number of women who are currently in Congress, we should focus on the additional number of women who are running for Congress each year—and winning ["Barack Obama's Cabinet Appointments: More Women Needed," usnews.com]. If this is consistently increasing and women have a 50-50 chance of winning, then I think we will eventually reach parity. However, if we are arguing that women need to achieve parity not by winning elections but by appointments, how is that progress? Shouldn't the primary goal be for women to raise their own money and win elections by votes? Perhaps the women's groups should stop depending on elected officials to be the great equalizer and implement their own 50-state strategy. Ensure that in every race there is at least one qualified women candidate. I don't agree with voting for women just for the sake of voting for women. Men can be equally capable of representing women's views. Look at the records. Let the people decide on the merits of the case.
Comment by Mia of WI
We need a system in which there is a mandatory percentage of women in top government positions to ensure representation. Women have had the right to vote for less than 100 years. In that time, we have certainly made great strides, but there is much work left to do in terms of equality. The only way to have women in government at percentages that reflect the population is through laws. Other countries have been very successful with instituting laws that require women to be fairly represented. The United States is falling behind in women's equality and has shown itself to be a surprisingly sexist country, but we can and should do better.
Comment by Hannah of GA
May I remind you that we are in very troubling times, and Obama has had to choose quickly and deliberately. These are not normal circumstances. Obama allowed Defense Secretary Robert Gates to stay on for continuity purposes; Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner's pick boosted the stock market and was clearly the best choice for this position. Veteran Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki helped add diversity, which was being overlooked in terms of race, and he seems like the best person for that job. It seems to me if Obama had picked more women, they most certainly would have been white women, and Obama clearly wanted to have a more diverse cabinet in terms of race as well as gender.
Comment by Lisa Jackson of IL
Although the number of women in the U.S. Congress will increase in 2009, there are 19 states that will not be represented by a woman in either house of Congress—up from 16 states before the 2008 election. In 2008, these 16 states had no women in either the U.S. House or Senate: Alabama, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, and Vermont. As a result of the election, three more states will have no women in Congress: New Mexico, Oregon, and Virginia.
Comment by Nancy McDonald of DE
The old adage "You can't please everybody" seems so prevalent right now. As you noted, the president-elect promised us a centrist administration during the campaign, rebutting GOP claims he would take us radically to the left. Clearly, his cabinet picks have shown he is, indeed, a man of his word! In choosing his team, he has angered several political factions, who—as always—"want what they want, when they want it." But doesn't a mature political mind accept that "we get what we get, when we get it." I have yet to see any other president-elect in my 55 years on this planet work as hard as he has during their transition periods. And does he receive gratitude for his efforts? No! Instead, he has criticism thrown his way from every direction.
Comment by Glenn S. Reiner of FL