Washington State's Women Change Tenor of Politics All-Female Race for US Senate Seat Fits into State's Long History of Women in High Places

By Brad Knickerbocker, writer of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, October 19, 1998 | Go to article overview

Washington State's Women Change Tenor of Politics All-Female Race for US Senate Seat Fits into State's Long History of Women in High Places


Brad Knickerbocker, writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


On a yacht in Seattle's Lake Union the other night, politicians were schmoozing with party activists and big donors. The three stars of the evening - all United States senators - were women, as were most of the activists and campaign contributors writing out thousand- dollar checks. In a downtown office the next morning, experienced political trainers were teaching leadership skills to a group of 12- to 14-year-olds. The trainers were women, their students all girls.

Elective politics still may be mostly a man's game in the United States. But in Washington State, a long history of women in politics tells a different story. Already, women here have had a significant impact on how the state's political processes work. And the future has a decidedly female cast as well.

Washington has a higher proportion of female state lawmakers than any other state (39 percent), a significant number of the congressional delegation are women, and women hold key statewide offices including attorney general and chief justice of the state Supreme Court. And for just the third time in the country's history, two women are battling it out here for a seat in the US Senate - incumbent Democrat Patty Murray and Republican US Rep. Linda Smith. This is not just a "year of the woman" fluke. Seattle was the first big city to have a woman mayor (Bertha Landes back in the 1920s), women have been in the state legislature for 102 years, and women were voting here before national suffrage. (Ironically, they lost the vote in 1889 when Washington went from territorial status to statehood.) Twenty years ago, Gov. Dixy Lee Ray (D) proved a woman could wield political power as willfully as a man, and in recent years women have headed both major parties in the state. "We've had a history of strong, active women since the territorial days," says Liz Pierini, president of the League of Women Voters of Washington, whose daughter is the state's assistant attorney general. "Women were admitted as peers early on." They're appointed to high posts here as well. The top officials at the Seattle Port Commission and Sea-Tac International Airport are both women. There are several reasons for this. Among these: a sense of openness and independence that is part of US Western history, an entrepreneurial legacy in the Pacific Northwest in which women played a strong economic role, and less religious influence of a kind that stifled political progress for women in other parts of the country. "It's been a school of hard knocks for women," says Ms. Pierini, granddaughter of pioneers. "But they keep coming, they keep persisting." Although the Seattle area is one of the most liberal in the country, it's not just a place for Democrats. Republican women hold important offices as well, including two seats in Congress and majority leader in the state's House of Representatives. According to participants and observers, this has affected the process of governing. "The dynamics are very interesting," says state Sen. Jeanne Kohl, a Democrat who also teaches women's studies at the University of Washington. "When you get a critical mass of women, it makes it easier for men to go along on issues like health care and child care. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Washington State's Women Change Tenor of Politics All-Female Race for US Senate Seat Fits into State's Long History of Women in High Places
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.