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Feminspire | April 18, 2014

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Binders Full of Women Not Being Put to Sufficient Use in House of Representatives

Binders Full of Women Not Being Put to Sufficient Use in House of Representatives

A list of all those who will be chairing House committees in the House of Representatives was released recently. As my eyes scanned down the list of appointed representatives, my mouth clenched as I realized the amount of representation that I, as a woman, was going to be getting in these committees.

The House is, for the majority, controlled by Republicans. In an attempt to disillusion people of ideas of the war on women that their party was so viciously accused of, they proudly declared new electee Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers as Republican Conference Chairman.

For this, I appreciate their efforts. This is a big one. I might even bake them a uterus-shaped cake to thank them for making my rights as a woman more relevant in the House. However, despite placing a woman in the 4th highest-ranking position in the House, they chose one who has a staunchly pro-life agenda.

In a feeble move to prevent anymore criticism for the lack of minorities and women in the House, Speaker John Boehner pulled out his own binder full of women and decided to appoint Rep. Candice Miller to chair a relatively minor role as the House Administration Committee. Despite overseeing many qualified Republican women who he could appoint into positions of power, Boehner succumbed to his skeptics and decided that keeping the status quo with white men in the House was more important than avoiding criticism.

Despite the appointments of Candice Miller and Cathy McMorris Rodgers, women are vastly underrepresented in the 113th Congress as a whole, and more efforts need to be made to ensure that women (not to mention people of color) receive equal representation. Potential chairmen of these congressional committees are mostly attributed due to seniority, but with that in mind, this boils down to the amount of women elected into the House. This doesn’t even come close to stressing how pertinent it is to also prioritize local elections.

Written by Angelica Alvarez