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Monroe Gets Bad Grade on Women in County Offices

Last Update: 11/8/2006 8:29:13 AM

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Rachel Barnhart (Rochester, N.Y.) – Carrie Andrews ran for public office and won on her first try last year.

At 30 years old, she’s one of the youngest politicians in Monroe County. She also has another distinction – one of only four women on the 29-seat county legislature.

“Oh sure, I definitely notice it,” she said.

A University of Rochester study gave Monroe County an unsatisfactory grade for having 17 percent of county seats held by women. Orleans County fared worse – it was given an F for having no women on its legislature or in countywide elected offices.

Nora Bredes wrote the study. She’s a former Suffolk County lawmaker who says many women are turned off by politics.

“Too rough and tumble. It doesn't seem like something where you can get good stuff done,” she said.

Bredes says it’s great that Monroe County is one of three in the state with a female county executive, but she says women would have more influence in legislative bodies.

“Do you, for instance, want to have a woman president of the United States or would it be better to have 75 percent of the U.S. Congress be made up of women?” she said.

Women bring different policy priorities to the table, Bredes said, such as domestic violence, and health and childcare issues.

Bredes would like to see party leaders make more of an effort to recruit women, telling them they can balance work and family and make a difference in government.

Andrews suggests women interested in politics contact their political party and get involved in campaigns and committees.

“It's volunteering. It's a lot of grassroots work,” she said.

Link:

2006 Report Card on Women’s Progess

 


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