Women to dominate professions

Published 10:40 pm Wednesday, July 2, 2008

By Staff
When California Democrat Nancy Pelosi took the oath as the first female Speaker of the House it garnered enormous nationwide media attention. The fact that a woman was second in line to succession to the presidency brought attention to the fact women are taking their rightful place in politics. It is a trend that will not dissipate but continue to emerge.
Women are already becoming dominant over men in academia and other professions. When you consider that is has been only three or four decades since women have been given the green light to proceed without a glass ceiling, the numbers indicate that women are rapidly exceeding men. Today over 60 percent of all college students are women. Over 50 percent of law school seats are filled with women and medical schools are approaching 50 percent female. It appears that women will dominate the professions of law and medicine the same way they have teaching.
In politics the same trend is developing albeit a little slower. Pelosi refers to the breakthrough as going through the marble ceiling, rather than the proverbial glass ceiling. If Hillary Clinton had reached the White House she would have shattered the ultimate political glass ceiling. There were two more women elected to the U.S. Senate in 2006, moving the number to 16 out of 100.
Last year, 58 women lawmakers were chosen as legislative leaders, more than double the female leaders in 2000.
There are now a record number of nine female Governors, which is 18 percent of the fifty, and state legislatures are 24 percent female and growing. In Alabama, women are continuing to gain seats in the Legislature. In 2006 Alabama voters seated 14 women to the 105 member House of Representatives and 4 women are in the 35 member Senate.
In last year's November election there were 9 contested statewide offices up for grabs. Women captured 5 of the 9. Kay Ivey was reelected Treasurer, Beth Chapman was elected Secretary of State, Sam Shaw was elected Auditor, and Susan Parker was elected to the PSC, while Jan Cook was reelected to that same panel. In addition, Sue Bell Cobb was elected Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.
Women make up 51 percent of our population and more than 51 percent of the votes cast. They vote at a higher percentage than men and have for several years, especially in Alabama.
It has been my experience that women in politics are more trustworthy and prepared. The women I served with in the Legislature were more dedicated to reading and researching legislation. They also strived to seek compromise resolutions more readily. In addition, women appear to be more ethical and honest than men. During the last decade of my legislative service, every high school graduation I attended had a female valedictorian. It will be interesting to watch this trend unfold in future years. We may not have as many wars.
Steve Flowers is political columnist who served 16 years in the State Legislature. He may be reached at www.steveflowers.us.