Widespread dissatisfaction with the status quo ahead of the upcoming US legislative elections is giving female candidates one of the best chances to significantly boost their ranks within Congress and statehouses since the heralded "Year of the Woman" in 1992.
"I've been calling it the perfect storm for these women," said Debbie Walsh, director of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. "Before they even open their mouths, it's clear they are not your standard-issue members of Congress -- not white male, blue suit with red tie."
"They look like change, and are seen as agents of change," Walsh said.
The ranks of competitive female candidates this year are lopsidedly Democratic, meaning they could play a key role in determining which party controls Congress and statehouses come January.
Of the 140 women running for the House of Representatives in Tuesday's elections, for example, 98 are Democrats. On the Senate side, 12 women are running, eight of them Democrats. The party is particularly hopeful for female candidates in two Senate races: Amy Klobuchar is favored to win a Minnesota seat held by retiring Democrat Mark Dayton, and Claire McCaskill is running neck-and-neck with Republican Senator Jim Talent in Missouri.
Record numbers of women now serve in the House (67) and Senate (14).
In the 36 governor's races this year, 10 women are running, half of them incumbents and half of them Democrats. There are currently eight female governors, six of them Democrats.
In state legislative races, a record 2,431 female candidates are running this year, of whom 1,563 are Democrats. The previous record of 2,375 was set in 1992, but the numbers of female candidates seemed to hit a plateau after that.
Dennis Simon, a Southern Methodist University professor who studies women in politics, said this year's climate is tailor-made for female candidates.
Dissatisfaction with the war in Iraq may make voters more inclined to identify with women, seeing them as mothers whose children may be sent to war. And questions about inside-the-Beltway ethics may benefit female candidates as well, Simon said.
But even with all that female candidates have going for them this year, they are unlikely to match the gains posted in 1992, when 22 new women were added to Congress, three in the Senate and 19 in the House. In that year, hearings on the Supreme Court nomination of Clarence Thomas drew attention to the dominance of men in the Senate, and a large number of open House seats offered newcomers a shot at breaking in.
There are far fewer open seats now because of congressional redistricting. And a number of female Republican House members are vulnerable this year, which could offset Democratic gains by female candidates.
In the current House, 43 of the women are Democrats and 24 are Republicans. In the Senate, nine women are Democrats and five are Republicans.
Walsh believes Congress could gain at least 10 women, but some Democratic partisans think the stars are aligned for far more.
"This is exactly the year that we've been working toward," said Karen White, political director of Emily's List, which backs Democratic women who support the right to abortion.
For two decades, the group has recruited, trained and financed female candidates for Congress as well as for state and local offices. Now, White says, many of the women they cultivated early in their political careers are ready to make the leap to Congress.
"We've got this bench of women who have been ready to run when the time came, and here we are," White said.
The group thinks it can add 10 to 15 seats in the House, she said.
A swing of 15 seats to the Democrats is exactly the margin needed to shift control of the House from the Republicans.
Tara Wall, a Republican National Committee spokeswoman, dismisses speculation that a number of Republican women House members may be in trouble, saying, "History bears out that incumbents remain in place."
Female flight attendants working for Japan Airlines would next month be allowed to wear trousers and abandon high heels, the company said on Thursday, after a feminist campaign took off. The airline became one of the first major Japanese firms to announce the shift after a campaign known as #KuToo last year rejected mandatory high heels at work, drawing more than 32,000 signatures in an online petition. The campaign is part of a wider feminism movement in Japan, with Japan Airlines saying that the new policy was aimed at boosting a “diverse working environment.” PANTS PERMIT “This will be the first time to introduce
FATAL IDEA: The nation’s drugs regulator is curbing use of hydroxychloroquine, which Donald Trump has promoted for its alleged potential to treat COVID-19 Australia’s drug regulator has been forced to restrict powers to prescribe a drug undergoing clinical trials to treat COVID-19, because doctors have been inappropriately prescribing it to themselves and their family members, despite potentially deadly side effects. The anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine and the similar compound chloroquine are currently used mostly for patients with autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, but stocks in Australia have been diminished thanks to global publicity — including from US President Donald Trump — about the potential of the drug to treat COVID-19. Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine have potentially severe and even deadly side effects if used inappropriately, including
TARGETED: Although hackers are known to be seeking to capitalize on concern over COVID-19, a cybersecurity expert said he had never seen anything to this extent before Elite hackers tried to break into the WHO earlier this month, sources said, part of what a senior agency official said was a more than two-fold increase in cyberattacks. The identity of the hackers was unclear and the effort was unsuccessful, WHO Chief Information Security Officer Flavio Aggio said. However, he warned that hacking attempts against the agency and its partners have soared as they battle to contain COVID-19, which has killed more than 15,000 worldwide. The attempted break-in at the WHO was first flagged to Reuters by Alexander Urbelis, a cybersecurity expert and attorney with the New York-based Blackstone Law Group,
PORNHUB: Campaigners warn that videos of serious crimes, such as rape, are being uploaded to the site, which has failed to ban or moderate illegal content British lawmakers and campaigners are calling for urgent action to stop videos of rape, revenge porn and child abuse being posted on Pornhub as traffic to the site booms amid a worldwide COVID-19 lockdown. Pornhub’s traffic is up a record 12 percent this month compared with last month, as millions of people across the world are told to stay in their homes. Pornhub owner Mindgeek has used the coronavirus lockdowns to promote its site, giving free Premium access to people living in isolation in Italy, Spain and France. The offer has led to a huge increase in visits to the site from affected