Ms. Smith Goes to Washington


What’s missing in Washington D.C. is a gender-balanced perspective on life in this country and the realities faced by more than 50 percent of our population. With no female representation from Ohio, women will likely represent less than 15 percent of the U.S. Senate, once all election results are finalized. The U.S. House of Representatives will include less than 35 percent women. In state legislatures, women currently represent 19 percent in Ohio, 18 percent in Indiana and 11 percent in Kentucky, according to a study by the Women’s Fund of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation.

“Research shows that women holding office and women voting make a difference in the types of issues and actions undertaken by government,” says Roxanne Qualls, former Cincinnati mayor and director of the Public Leadership Initiative at Northern Kentucky University (NKU).

This is why the Women’s Fund is partnering with NKU’s Institute for Public Leadership and Public Affairs to create the Advancing Women in Political Leadership Project. In addition to identifying the real and perceived regional barriers to women seeking and holding elected office, the project will recognize regional programs and activities that inspire and encourage girls and women to see the value in political participation. The project will also review and identify best practices utilized in successful programs that have increased the number of women in political life and public policy formation.

Referring to the Pulse study that identified the status of women in our region, foundation President Vanessa Freytag says this new program is a direct response to the disparities identified.

“We hope to contribute towards the goal of increasing the number of women in policy-making positions,” she says.

Qualls is enthusiastic about this modern-day extension of the Women’s Suffrage movement.

“This project will increase the number of women in positions of political leadership and the number of women exercising the hard earned right to vote,” she says.

— Margo Pierce

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7 Comments on “Ms. Smith Goes to Washington”

  1. Westside John Says:

    I back Margo 100% as long as each and every group is exactly represented. I want to see black, hispanic, asian, european, every one equally portioned out. Everyone deserves to be represented. I hear every day that this or that group is not represented, well get out and vote. We just had a very close race between Schmidt and Wilson. The lady with THE MOST VOTES won. There will never be a way to represent every subculture, every ethnicity, every political viewpoint. It just won’t happen.

    I welcome anyone who is willing to run for a seat, If a woman is the better canidate than normally she will win. I can’t believe that there are too many “good ole boys” that will never vote for a woman. (well,except Hillary)

  2. Margo Says:


    Get a grip – nobody is calling for 100 percent equal representation of all people at all time and in every way. Your point about get-out-and-do-it is valid, but you undercut the validity of your own argument by being dismissive.

    What I’m talking about is developing awareness of and addressing a specific issue faced by one group of people.

    Remember Apartheid? An entire group of people was systematically and intentionally treated differently over a long period of time, to the point where they lacked the knowledge, practical skills and tools and the means to legally change their lives. But the things that could not be broken or taken away were their spirit and determination. It took violence, resistance and international social and political pressure to end that form of discrimination. Recovery will be underway for many generations to come because people don’t change as quickly as laws.

    Women in this country, and all over the world are treated a sub-male. Are we? No. In many cases women are more intelligent, creative and capable than mean. But after long-term deprivation it takes a concerted effort to undo the results of that kind of treatment, especially in the face of ongoing discrimination.

    My mom’s generation points to all the advances women have made. We have come a long way, but that’s no reason to settle for less full equality. And yes, all people – regardless of gender, ethnicity or any other arbitrary differentiation – deserve to be treated with the same respect, compassion and thoughtfulness.

  3. Westside John Says:

    You see, what my point is ….is that if you, in the name of creating a fairer system, deprive another group of right you are fighting for, who wins? Affirmative action, in spirit, is a noble undertaking but it adversly affected thousands of deserved individuals based soley on the color of their skin. I have in my records a letter sent to me by the Cincinnati Police stating that, although i scored high enough on all the events combined I was being passed over because I was a “CAUCASION MALE.” Woman are equal or to some degree superior to men in a large amout of areas, as are males superior to women in others. This should be an unrefutable fact and with the few exceptions, kept that way. I know of two women firefighters that couldn’t drag a child out of a bulding much less an adult. I also know of some men that were placed positions of authority based only on the fact that they were men, when there were clearly more qualified women there to fill that spot.
    I don’t have the answers but when you deprive one group to give to another group you are commiting the same act as they were. I know you can argue that the system has kept a foot on certain groups etc. but Isee too many success stories where the individual fought the system the right way and succeeded.

    As for my mom’s generation, which is more than likey yours, my mom was a nurse in a hspital with two women doctors. Now 40 years laters, look how many female doctors there are! Stereotypes can be overwritten.

  4. mc Says:

    It may somewhat cheer the writer, Margo, to know that the Democratic Party has had this (the effort to recruit women with interests in political office) in the works for a couple of years now.

    If you check the DCCC (The Democratic Congressional Committee) web site, Margo, you can follow the links to that effort. Unlike the neo-cons, the Dems have recognized that more intelligence, creativity and courage was needed in political office and have taken steps to bring that forward.

    Most voters welcome that effort and look for better candidates and better office holders in the future. Seeing what has occupied the White House for the past six years has energized voters everywhere. It is an encouraging sign for the future. Someday we may have a president who deserves the office.

  5. mc Says:

    Westside John:

    1) It cheers many of us to hear that Hillary still frightens the neo-con good old boys. As long as all of you obsess about her, you will not pay attention to the candidates who should concern you. It warms our hearts. Thank you for reminding me.

    2) John, if you were truly denied promotion due to being A CAUCASIAN MALE, please go with all due haste to the nearest media outlet with your complaints. Any reporter looking for another sensational breaking news event will latch onto your story. Your fortune will be made and you shall live in glory in the bar where some old guys smoke.
    Bliss will therefore be yours, forever and ever. Godspeed.

  6. Westside John Says:

    If I was any other race/sex you would not be sarcastic. Your true colors show through!

  7. mc Says:

    Oh, please. WS John, relax. You have not been condemned by race and gender. Push your own agenda and use the means available to you, even if it is very little. Most people who challenge workplace unfairness don’t have an enormous body of case law to draw from. Fight the good fight for fairness if not for yourself.

    If this issue is of actual concern to you, you have reason to act. Everyone else has that right, so why not you? You may prevail or not but at least you would have made your case. That is all anyone can do and maybe it could have an impact.

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