Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - 16

BREAKING RECORDS
U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
"I am particularly proud to be the woman Speaker of the House of this
Congress, which marks 100 years of women winning the right to vote, as
we serve with more than 100 women in the House of Representatives -
the highest number in history," Nancy Pelosi told her colleagues in a speech
after being elected to the speakership on January 3.
Political insiders believe this record-breaking class of female lawmakers will
change Washington, but they may find themselves changed as well. Studies
show that women politicians are no different than their male counterparts,
and politics practiced at the highest level can be a tough taskmaster and
immune to insurgency.
"I don't think it is about how a woman leads versus how a man leads, but that
there is gender equality in the boardroom, the cabinet room, the Supreme
Court conference table, and the congressional hearing room," says Jamie
Gorelick, a partner at WilmerHale LLP and one of the longest serving deputy
attorneys general of the United States. "One cannot pinpoint all the differences
without sounding sexist in one way or another. Let's just say it makes a difference to have women at the table."
Activists suggest that greater numbers of women in Congress will translate into
an expanded voice in policies, politics, and the legislative agenda. This pioneering class of women will help to ensure that women's issues such as equal
pay, sexual harassment protections, and paid family leave receive adequate
airing - and a vote.

GAINS BEYOND GENDER

Record 102 women sworn
into office

43 women of color
in the House, 4 in Senate

36 first-time female members

First 2 Muslim women
in Congress

U.S. SENATE

Record 25 women members

First 2 Native American
women in Congress

4 first-time female senators
Yet the gains made in 2018 went beyond gender. Forty-three women of color
are serving in the House, up from the 2016 record of 35, and 4 women of color
are serving in the Senate. The surge of female lawmakers includes a number of
firsts: the first Muslim and the first Native American women in the House, the
first Latina representatives from Texas, the first African American woman from
Massachusetts, and the first female senator from Tennessee.
Moreover, Pelosi, a Democrat from California, ascended to the position of
Speaker of the House for the second time. In 2007 Pelosi made history as the
first woman Speaker, but she lost the gavel when Republicans took control of
the House in 2011.

Greater female representation in Congress may also mean a new view of
programs that don't have an obvious gender angle, allowing members to
advocate from a women's perspective on every issue, whether it's infrastructure
investment, affordable housing, or consumer credit. The impact of women lawmakers is likely to be both fundamental and practical.

Despite this progress in numbers, advocates point out that women are still
struggling for parity and are even forced to justify why their representation
in Congress should be larger. Women account for 25 percent of the Senate
and 23.7 percent of the House, though they make up nearly 51 percent of the
U.S. population.

"Substantively, women are going to be more attuned to women and
children," says Gorelick. "I think that they may well be more empathetic as
a group to the plight of those who are out rather than in, [those] at the
margins rather than at the center."

"We haven't asked men to prove why they need to be there," says Kelly Dittmar,
an assistant professor of political science at Rutgers-Camden and a scholar
at the CAWP. She is the coauthor of A Seat at the Table: Congresswomen's
Perspectives on Why Their Presence Matters. "We often frame the question of
women's representation as 'what difference does it make if they're there?'"
Dittmar adds. "We spend a lot of time justifying why we need more women
in office. Men never have to make that case."

In cities and states where women have won elected office more broadly,
their achievements served as platforms to launch bids for higher office.
Like men, women have followed the traditional path from school boards to
county commissions to the state house and senate. Their record of accomplishment is both proof and predictor of what women can and will do in
Congress, say activists.
"Women have proved their capabilities at the state level," says A'shanti
Gholar, political director of Emerge America, a nonprofit organization
working to elect Democratic women. "In politics, when you want to get
something done right, you call in a woman, and the call for help for
Congress went out in 2018."

HISTORIC FIRSTS
The story of the November 2018 elections was dominated by women, both in
terms of the number of female candidates running for office and the number of
women elected. The most discussed and auspicious change came in Congress,
notes the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP), a unit of the
Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.
A record 102 women - 89 Democrats and 13 Republicans - were sworn
into office in the U.S. House of Representatives in January, with 36 members
elected for the first time. In 2019, 25 women - 17 Democrats and 8 Republicans
- are serving in the U.S. Senate. The previous record of 23 women U.S. senators
was set in 2018. Four women are new to the Senate, which is shy of the record
set in 2012 when five women were elected to the Senate for the first time.
16

WASHINGTON LAWYER

*

MARCH 2019

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HOLDING PARTY LINES
Women may still need to make that case inside the Republican Party. The
number of House seats held by Republican women dropped from 23 seats to
13 seats in 2019. In the Senate, eight Republican women serve in the chamber,
including two first-time members.
"Republicans haven't invested the resources in building networks to recruit and
raise money for women," says Michele Swers, a professor of American government at Georgetown University who has written and co-written three books on
women and politics. "The Republican electorate is not as responsive to the idea
[that] you need to have more diversity at the table. They tend to think if you are
chosen based on merit, the best person will emerge."
The imbalance has many Republicans wondering what's next, especially with
the 2020 elections around the corner. The danger, of course, is that the GOP will
look out of touch, especially if the future of elective politics is more and more
female.
"There aren't enough Republican women in the pipeline," says Jennifer Pierotti
Lim, co-founder of Republican Women for Progress (RWFP). "We worked with
a lot of amazing and diverse women this past year. Very few of them made it
[past] the Republican primary because there's no organized party support. You
have to show you can get into the general before they give you support. It's
a real concern for 2020."


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Washington Lawyer - March 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - March 2019

Digital Extras
Your Voice
From Our President
Practice Management
Calendar of Events
Government & Gavel
The Women's Wave & Its Effects on Politics
Features: #Me Too & A Time Of Reckoning for the Law
Feature: Righting The Gender Imbalance In Big Law
Feature: A Day in The Life of Two Women Lawyers
Global & Domestic Outlook
Worth Reading
Media Bytes
Attorney Briefs
Ask The Ethics Experts
Disciplinary Summaries
The Pro Bono Efect
Community & Connections
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - Cover1
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - 1
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - 2
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - 3
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - Digital Extras
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - Your Voice
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - From Our President
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - 7
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - Practice Management
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - 9
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - Calendar of Events
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - 11
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - Government & Gavel
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - 13
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - The Women's Wave & Its Effects on Politics
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - 15
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - 16
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - 17
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - Features: #Me Too & A Time Of Reckoning for the Law
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - 19
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - 20
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - 21
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - Feature: Righting The Gender Imbalance In Big Law
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - 23
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - 24
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - 25
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - Feature: A Day in The Life of Two Women Lawyers
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - 27
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - 28
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - 29
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - 30
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - 31
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - 32
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - 33
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - Global & Domestic Outlook
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - 35
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - Worth Reading
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - Media Bytes
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - Attorney Briefs
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - Ask The Ethics Experts
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - Disciplinary Summaries
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - 41
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - 42
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - 43
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - The Pro Bono Efect
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - 45
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - Community & Connections
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - 47
Washington Lawyer - March 2019 - 48
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