The Best & Worst Congressional Districts for Women
This is a book I intend to get my hands on as soon as I can:
"Women and Congressional Elections: A Century of Change" was written by Baldwin Wallace associate professor of political science Barbara Palmer and Southern Methodist University's Dennis Simon. Among other things it reveals what the 20 friendliest and least friendly districts for women in the country are.
This Washington Post article doesn't say what the top 20 are so I can't tell you if any are in Ohio (doubtful — most are in New York and California, it says) until I read the book. But it does say that all of the 20 least hospitable are in the south — and 19 are held by Republicans. Yeah, WHAT war on women, right?
Texas has the most of these male bastions, with four; there’s also particularly rough terrain for women in Tennessee, South and North Carolina, Louisiana, Georgia, Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi and Virginia.
Certainly, if any Ohio district could be viewed as woman-friendly, it's the 11th, the seat currently held by Marcia Fudge and previously by Stephanie Tubbs-Jones. The authors say that these female-friendly districts tend to draw woman challengers to woman incumbents, leading to no improvement in the dismal lack of gender parity in Congress. And in the 11th last year, state senator Nina Turner briefly challenged Fudge.
But there's good news in Ohio on one side of the aisle. In the four solid Democratic districts that no Republican will win, three of the candidates are women: Fudge, Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur of Toledo, and might-as-well-call-her-congresswoman-elect Joyce Beatty of Columbus. And the four districts where there is at least a chance of a Democratic pickup even though they lean Republican, ALL the Democratic candidates are women: Betty Sutton taking on Jim Renacci, Joyce Healy-Abrams running against Bobb Gibbs, Angela Zimmann vs. Bob "Who?" Latta, and Sharen Neuhardt challenging Mike "Who?" Turner.
On the other side of the aisle, the only Republican woman, Jean Schmidt, was knocked out in the primary. So this nugget of info in the Washington Post article isn't surprising:
The number of women Republicans in Congress did grow in 2010, from 17 to 24, but that’s still far paltrier than across the aisle, where there are 49 Democratic women.
And remember — currently Republicans are in the majority (Hopefully we can change that in November).
Numbers aren't much better in the state House. I happen to have the glossy information booklet about the state House of Representatives in my bathroom right now (Thanks, Barbara Boyd! My state rep.) Of 99 state reps, 22 are women. The Republicans hold a 59-40 majority. But only 10 of the women are Rs; 12 are Ds. Damn, that's sad.
On the up side, browsing through the booklet, which has photos of each state rep, it's clear that the men are way more likely to look like complete goofballs than the women, who mostly look normal, no matter what their party — a bunch of moms, business women, and young professionals. The men are rocking bad comb-overs, ’70s porn mustaches, and even weird bangs. The latter are on Bill Batchelder, who looks like he should be hosting a Saturday morning kids' program, sporting a large, colorful bowtie with teddy bears on it. Can we persuade him to change jobs?