Forget the Gender Gap: GOP Backs All Male Chairmen
When it would seem that the Republicans had learned that the right could no longer be perceived as ignoring women, we learn today that all of the House chairmanships will be men. While the U.S. House chairmanships are primarily selected based on seniority, would it not be beneficial to the party to include a few women? The last time we had an all-male panel, the result was … wait for it … Sandra Fluke.
Studies have indicated that some blocks of women voters were not with us [in the last election]. … We’ve got to be more inclusive and I hope that our leadership gets that message and I think they will.
Fortunately, Washington Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers will be Chair of the Republican Conference. I had the pleasure of meeting her at the RNC’s Women’s Summit in 2009, when she was beginning to rise in the ranks of the party. She is a true asset to the GOP, and a wonderful spokesman for the ideals the party represents. Rep. Rodgers will be the fourth ranking person in the House, and the highest-ranking woman overall.
While I do not support affirmative action in the sense of promoting someone simply due to their gender or race, we have many experienced women in the U.S. House who could fill chairmanships easily. This is politics, after all, and the optics, messaging and perception all matter greatly. There are 20 female Republicans in the House, including several who have wielded great power:
- Michele Bachmann – MN
- Cathy McMorris Rodgers – WA
- Lynn Jenkins – KS
- Kristi Noem – SD
- Virginia Foxx – NC
- Marsha Blackburn – TN
- Sue Myrick – NC
- Ileana Ros-Lehtinen – FL
These are just to name a few.
While there are still two committees without chairmen, a total of zero women serve on those committees, making it unlikely that a woman would become chairman of either of those committees (the Committee on House Administration and the Committee on House Ethics).
The Republican Party must stop being blind to the optics of what it does. There are qualified women who serve in the U.S. House, and if the GOP wants to begin to close the gender gap they must avoid this:
Which resulted in this:
Which helped make this possible:
- Diversity Only Goes So Far As House Republicans Tap Old Guard For Chairmanships (buzzfeed.com)
- U.S. House Republicans Back All-Male Committee Chairmen (businessweek.com)
- GOP Assembles All White Male Roster of House Committee Chairmen for Upcoming Congress (gawker.com)
- House committee chairs all men… (politico.com)
- The nineteen new Republican House committee chairmen are all white males (dailykos.com)