Karen Heller, columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer, reflected in her March 14 column on the 2012 update of Women Office Holders, Candidates and Voters, tracked annually by Rutgers’ Center for American Women and Politics. (http://bit.ly/Au4lmD) Pennsylvania ranks 42nd in electing women to the state legislature.
Heller interviewed Vision 2020’s Co-chair, Lynn Yeakel for the article. During the interview, Yeakel commented on her journey while running for the U.S. Senate in 1992. Below are excerpts and adaptations from the article.
Mirroring the US Congress, only 17 percent of the Pennsylvania’s legislature is female. That means of the 253 legislative seats in Pennsylvania, 210 are held by men and 43 by women.
Compared to other Northeastern states, Pennsylvania remains at the bottom of the list. New Jersey is at number 10 and Delaware is at 18. Find your state’s ranking: http://bit.ly/yBf2lG
Despite the numbers, there is hope for women in Pennsylvania’s April 24 primary. Six women will compete for U.S. House seats, one woman for state attorney general, and another for secretary of state. Still, as Yeakel stated, it is up to the voters to respond to the call.
“The focus we have at Vision 2020 is on getting more women to vote. If more women voted, more women would get elected,” Yeakel explained.
Yeakel’s own campaign for office was 20 years ago, the trials and tribulations faced by women running for political office encounter have not changed. During her interview with Heller, Yeakel remembered others commenting on frivolous matters such as her hair and clothing. This might remind others of similar comments made about Sarah Palin, Hilary Clinton, and Michele Bachman.