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Record number of women elected to House, Senate

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
November 15th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The U.S. electorate has spoken - and a record number of women now hold seats in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Come January, there will be 80 women in the House and 20 female members of the Senate, a record number. Most of the women elected are Democrats, but not all.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi stood surrounded by a large group of women during a news conference this week. Surrounded by current and newly elected members of the House, Pelosi pointed out that for the first time in history of the House, Democratic women and minorities outnumber their white male counterparts.

"The most diverse caucus in the history of the world - the first time that a parliamentary body would have a party who had a majority of women and minorities," Pelosi said.

Referring to the many Democratic women that won seats in the November election, Pelosi said it was taken into consideration in her decision on whether to step down as Democratic leader.

Surrounded by her colleagues that she called her "sisters," Pelosi said "And I have made a decision to submit my name, to my colleagues, to once again serve as the House Democratic Leader," she said.

Pelosi has served two terms as speaker of the House, the first woman in the United States to serve as speaker, and she oversaw passage of President Barack Obama's health care reform legislation.

Twenty percent of the 100 lawmakers will be women, with 16 Democrats and four Republicans. And once all of the ballots are counted, as many as 19 Republican women could be sworn in into the House in January.

Democrat Lois Frankel of Florida, one of the newly elected members of the House says she believes women govern differently than men because of their role as the primary caregivers for children and elderly parents.

"I think we do bring a different perspective because, for many of us like myself, we have raised our family and mixed it with work," she said.

Spokesperson for Emily's List, an organization that opposes the fundamental human right to life and works only to to elect Anti-Life Democratic women to Congress, Jess McIntosh, says studies show that women in positions of power are more likely to compromise, which could be crucial with a potential budget crisis facing the United States.

"In this time when politics is so polarizing and it is so hard to find consensus, I think having women who tend to be really good collaborators in the legislature is only going to be a good thing for the country," McIntosh said.

While she is happy with the many new women elected, political scientist Jennifer Lawless of American University in Washington says there is still room for progress as women make up 50 percent of the population and are still under-represented in federal elective offices.
 
Of course, the growing number of Pro-Life wone, in both political parties, have an important story to tell. Stay tuned.

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