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Tomorrow will mark a milestone for American women in politics. Why? Because that's when New Hampshire will become the first state in our nation's history to send an all-female delegation to Washington, D.C. AND, the state's new governor, the speaker of the State House, and the chief justice of the State Supreme Court are also women. Talk about a first!
Pictured above from left are Maggie Hassan (governor), Ann McLane Kuster and Carol Shea-Porter (congresswomen), and Kelly Ayotte and Jeanne Shaheen (senators). Katharine Q. Seelye wrote about this historic trend in today's New York Times, and I just wanted to share the good news with all of you.
According to Seelye, women will make up 17.9% of the new House and 20% of the new Senate. These are the highest percentages ever, but it's important to remember that 50.8% of America's population is female.
Six states (Alaska, Delaware, Iowa, Mississippi, North Dakota and Vermont) have never elected a woman to the House of Representatives, and four of those (Delaware, Iowa, Mississippi and Vermont) have never sent a woman to the Senate. Currently, 16 states have no women in Congress, but Maine, Missouri and Washington's delegations are made up of at least 1/2 females.
Even though New Hampshire is small, the State House has 400 members--more than any other state in the Union and the fourth-largest governing body in the English-speaking world (1.United States Congress, 2.British Parliament, 3.Indian Parliament).
Seelye writes that most of the women in New Hampshire politics grew up with mothers who worked, and are mothers themselves. Obviously, this has helped them learn how to reach compromises and solve problems. They were also lucky enough to have supportive families who encouraged their political ambitions.
As governor-elect Maggie Hassam has often said "Never underestimate the power of a woman with a mini-van and a cell phone."