Making strides

Published 8:20 am Wednesday, November 5, 2008

By By now, the next president of the United States of America should be known, unless the 2008 election mirrors the 2000 election. Forbid the thought!
North Carolinians should know who the next governor will be. If it is Bev Perdue, history will be made. She will be the Old North State’s first female governor.
Should Suzanne Reynolds, a law professor at Wake Forest University, defeat incumbent Associate Justice Bob Edmunds, four of the seven seats on the North Carolina Supreme Court will be held by women. Depending on results from Election Day, the majority of the seats on the 10-member Council of State could be held by women if Perdue, Janet Cowell and Beth Wood are elected. Cowell ran for state treasurer. Wood ran for state auditor. Perdue, Cowell and Wood are Democrats.
With 54 percent of the state’s registered voters being women, it should not be surprising for more and more women to be taking their places in state government. And it is only natural for women in North Carolina to follow what appears to be a national trend of women in politics rising to powerful positions.
Nancy Pelosi is the first female speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. Sarah Palin is not only the governor of Alaska, but today she could be the first female to be elected vice president of the United States of America. Hillary Clinton came close to being the Democrats’ presidential nominee.
Don’t forget the U.S. Senate race in North Carolina this year was between two women, Elizabeth Dole, the Old North State’s first female senator and Kay Hagan, a state senator.
Women have come a long way in the realm of politics.
When Pelosi was first elected to represent her House district in 1987, there were 22 women in the House. When she took over as speaker, a record 71 women were in the House. They represented about 16 percent of the seats in the House.
Although they have made great strides, look for women to make even greater strides in the world of politics.
The United States of America is far from being a leader when it comes to women in politics, as a 2007 Associated Press report pointed out. In at least each of 79 other countries in early 2007, women made up a larger share of the national legislature. And as that AP report noted, the United States trailed two new democracies, Afghanistan and Iraq.
No matter what happened to them on Election Day, Perdue, Cowell, Wood, Dole and Hagan are role models for young women. Even more so if each won her race. There is no doubt they understand they serve as role models and the responsibility that role carries with it.
Pelosi recognized that on the eve of her becoming the first woman to serve as speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Look for more and more women to say similar words as they become the first female governor of a state, the first female treasurer of a state or the first vice president of the United States of America.
And the day when an American president is addressed as “Madam President” likely is not far off.
And if American women have anything to say about that, it will happen sooner rather than later.