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Current Events & Hot Topics Current Events & Hot Topics

The year of the woman?

Posted by on Nov. 18, 2012 at 8:51 AM
  • 11 Replies
1 mom liked this
Published: November 18, 2012 by NPR Staff

Sen. Barbara Boxer says we can finally stop using the term "Year of the Woman" once the Senate reaches a 50-50 split of men and women. "That's the goal," she says.

We're not quite there yet. But in 2013, more women will be serving in Congress than ever before. There will be 20 women in the Senate. When Boxer took her seat in '93, there were six — and that was after tripling from two the term before.

So what does the California Democrat have to say about the fact that there's still a gender gap? Let's put this in perspective.

"If you step back and look at the arc of history, it's only almost yesterday that women got the right to vote," she tells NPR's Rachel Martin. "And 1920 may sound like a really long time ago, but in the arc of our history, it's not. And so, it takes generations."

Boxer points to a picture in her office from 1958. She was a senior in high school on a trip to Washington, D.C., with her class.

"I can assure you, never in my wildest imagination ... did I ever dream that I would be here. It wasn't even on the radar screen," she says. "So it takes a while for progress. But we're in the middle of it now. And I think there's no stopping it."

Boxer says she's seen change in the course of her career. Before being elected to the Senate in '92, Boxer had already spent 10 years as a representative in the House.

"Well I don't want to overstate it. It was lonely in the House, I will say, because there was an attitude back in the '80s that was not the attitude now," she says. "There's a very different attitude now, by the men. ... Because they understand in this place we're all equal."

Equal in terms of legislative muscle, she says.

"They need to deal with me, and they need to deal with all my sisters because any of us can stop a bill, can thwart a bill, can help them. And we're committee chairmen now," Boxer says. "So the one great thing about this place is at the end of the day, everybody has equal power, whether you're a man or a woman or what's the color of your skin."

While she says she never felt slighted as a result of her gender in the Senate, she did feel that way in the House. One joke in particular has stuck with her.

"I was in a hearing. I was very new, and I made a strong statement, and one of my male colleagues said, 'I want to associate myself with the congresswoman.' Which is a formal way of saying it, but the way he said it was sort of a joke, and people laughed out there in the audience, and it was so humiliating," she says.

She asked the chairman to delete the comment from the record, and then another colleague said he wanted to "associate" himself with her, too.

Also in the House, women weren't allowed to use the gym. Boxer was shocked and decided to do something. Known for writing parodies, she took the song "Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue" and wrote new lyrics. She got a singing group together and asked permission to sing during a luncheon. The jingle went like this (you can hear Boxer sing it in the audio interview above):

"Exercise, glamorize, where to go, will you advise? Can't everybody use your gym? ... Equal rights, we'll wear tights, let's avoid those macho fights."

It did the trick.

"Our colleagues were hysterical laughing, and we got into the gym. So it showed that you have to use a sense of humor, you know, and do whatever it takes," she says.

Boxer calls her time in the House "tough" and "pioneering," but things were different in the Senate.

"By the time I got to the Senate, Barbara Mikulski had shaped them up over here — and they knew they better fall in line."

Mikulski, a Democrat from Maryland, became the longest-serving female member of Congress in March.

Overall, Boxer says female leadership did bring with it new legislative priorities.

"I think that 'women's issues' were hardly ever discussed. And by that I mean education issues, the softer issues, clean air, clean water — a lot of those things, women carried. Certainly women's health, women's right to choose, equal pay for equal work," she says. "Believe me, the agenda has changed along with the gender change because they can't be ignored." [Copyright 2012 National Public Radio]
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by on Nov. 18, 2012 at 8:51 AM
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Replies (1-10):
mikiemom
by Ruby Member on Nov. 18, 2012 at 11:46 AM

2013 should be the year of the woman. Yes, it is important that there are women in congress. But as we see on this page alone that doesn't mean that those women would do what is best for all women. Many women still think women should be subservient to men.

mustbeGRACE
by on Nov. 18, 2012 at 12:21 PM


Quoting mikiemom:

2013 should be the year of the woman. Yes, it is important that there are women in congress. But as we see on this page alone that doesn't mean that those women would do what is best for all women. Many women still think women should be subservient to men.

Yes.

Women can be monsters.

mikiemom
by Ruby Member on Nov. 18, 2012 at 1:10 PM

At least you admit what is wrong with you.

Quoting mustbeGRACE:

 

Quoting mikiemom:

2013 should be the year of the woman. Yes, it is important that there are women in congress. But as we see on this page alone that doesn't mean that those women would do what is best for all women. Many women still think women should be subservient to men.

Yes.

Women can be monsters.


mustbeGRACE
by on Nov. 18, 2012 at 1:21 PM


Quoting mikiemom:

At least you admit what is wrong with you.

Quoting mustbeGRACE:


Quoting mikiemom:

2013 should be the year of the woman. Yes, it is important that there are women in congress. But as we see on this page alone that doesn't mean that those women would do what is best for all women. Many women still think women should be subservient to men.

Yes.

Women can be monsters.


Yay!

The post is about me  !!!!   ??????

_____________________________________

I'm a Conservative Woman.

It's always The Year of The People.


NWP
by guerrilla girl on Nov. 18, 2012 at 2:09 PM

I am excited to see more women in congress.

Yeah Ladies!!!!

stacymomof2
by Ruby Member on Nov. 18, 2012 at 5:14 PM

I was thinking about this just today.  20 Women!  That's awesome!  Next step, the presidency.  I want to look at my girls and say a girl can do anything a boy can do, and mean it.

parentalrights1
by on Nov. 18, 2012 at 5:43 PM
Quoting mikiemom:


aw come on. If she is willing to discuss things with a level o intelligence this time it should be encouraged. I didn't detect any snark for once
mikiemom
by Ruby Member on Nov. 18, 2012 at 7:13 PM

your snark meeter must be broken

Quoting parentalrights1:

Quoting mikiemom:


aw come on. If she is willing to discuss things with a level o intelligence this time it should be encouraged. I didn't detect any snark for once


Veni.Vidi.Vici.
by on Nov. 18, 2012 at 8:39 PM
b u m p
parentalrights1
by on Nov. 18, 2012 at 8:39 PM
Quoting mikiemom:


probably
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