It's Not the Year of the GOP Woman After All

Joanne Bamberger
Politics & Views

sarah palin mother jonesAt the beginning of this election season, the media and the GOP latched on to the story that 2010 was going to be the Year of the Republican Woman.

With Sarah "mama grizzly" Palin flying from coast to coast giving her blessing to the myriad Republican women who were inspired to run for office because of her place on the John McCain ticket in 2008, surely this was their time to charge into office and be the conservative change they wanted to see.

Or not.

That's not just speculation or punditry. A recent study from the Center for Women and American Politics at Rutgers University found that while GOP women filed for elective office, including Congress, in record numbers in 2010, only 28% of non-incumbent GOP women won their primary races for Congress.

The election cycle started with a whole passel of Republican women who were energized by the head mama grizzly herself. And whether I agree with the talking points of all those conservative women, I believe that getting more estrogen into elective office is a good thing.  There's no question that a number of high profile races still have conservative contenders, like Sharron Angle in Nevada and Nikki Haley in South Carolina. But the Year of the Republican Woman has become urban legend just like 1992's Year of the Woman.

We might get certain years named after us, but that hasn't changed a whole lot for women's lot.

Sadly, it's not going to be the Year of the Democratic Woman, either. According to the CAWP study, Democratic women are losing, as well -- only 46% of incumbent Democratic women are still in the running for Congress. And in this anti-incumbent year, common wisdom suggests that a good number of incumbent women candidates who've survived this far won't be popping open the bubbly come Election Day.

I'm just hoping we don't have to wait another generation before we see the next Year of the Woman -- any woman.

Joanne Bamberger is nose to the grindstone on the final edits of her forthcoming book, Mothers of Intention: How Women & Social Media Are Revolutionizing Politics in America.

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