The 21 Women to Watch

words adn people

Women have been waiting a long time.  Some women even threw their “hat in the ring”before they won the right to vote nationwide in 1920 with the passage of the 19th Amendment. When I went to Washington as a Congressional page, there were no women in the Senate, and the surest way for a woman to become a member of the House of Representatives was to have her husband die in a plane crash.

Now there are 20 women in the Senate and 78 women in the House of Representatives, as well as 5 women governors.

Since most presidents have used either the Senate or a governor’s mansion as their antechamber, this page is dedicated to the 21 plus 5.  (The 4 Republican and 1 Democratic women governors are Jan Brewer (Ariz.), Nikki Haley (S.C.), Susana Martinez (N.M.), Mary Fallin (Okla.), and Maggie Hassan (N.H.).)

Hillary Clinton’s path to the presidency is similar to that of most women who have hit the pinnacles of their profession — she’s overqualified.  Aside from being First Lady, Hillary Clinton has had not one but two jobs that have been the way station before becoming president — a Senator and a Secretary of State.**

Men who were elected president or chosen as a two-party nominee as well as being Secretary of State and a Senator include: John Quincy Adams, Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, Lewis Cass, William H. Seward, James G. Blaine, William Jennings Bryan, Charles Evans Hughes, and John Kerry.  That’s only one in the century since Hughes, and no presidential winner since JQA, so if Hillary Clinton is elected President in 2016, she will be making history in more ways than one.

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About Ruth O'Brien

Professor Ruth O'Brien, The Graduate Center, The City University of New York (CUNY) & Honorary Unaffiliated Academic Book Series Editor for The Public Square, Princeton University Press & Heretical Thought, Oxford University Press, USA Last book: Out of Many, One: Obama & the Third American Political Tradition (U of Chicago 2013). Nickname: Professorette by Rush Limbaugh (see

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