Should We Elect Women Just Because They're Women?

The North Dakota Women’s Network – the group that, rather ludicrously, accused Governor Jack Dalrmple of sexism in his appointments last year – is holding a “Ready to Run” event at North Dakota State University to encourage more women to run for public office.

‘We need more women running for office’ reads the headline from the Fargo Forum, and the goal of the group seems to be a quota of women serving in elected office.

North Dakota was the first state to elect a woman to statewide office in 1893 – before women even had the right to vote nationwide.

But today it ranks 41st in the nation for women’s participation in the state Legislature at 17 percent.

Hoping to set a new norm with more women on the ballot, the North Dakota Women’s Network will provide training next week to give women the tools to seek elected office.

It’s unfortunate that this group which encourages gender diversity isn’t more diverse in ideology. Republican women I’ve spoken to – including some who have held elected office for some time – have told me that this group is hostile to them, and particularly hostile to anyone holding a pro-life view even if they are of the female persuasion.

Meaning, I guess, that the goal of this group is less about gender than ideology. Planned Parenthood is pushing this event, for crying out loud.

This group only wants to promote women who think a certain way.

Regardless, the idea of electing someone because of their gender seems obnoxious to me. We should care very little about the gender of any given candidate – ideas and competency are what we should be voting for – but groups like the North Dakota Women’s Network are very much interested in caring about gender.

That seems counterproductive to me. I am the father of two young girls. The idea that they would ever be denied something they’ve earned because of their gender enrages me, but equally enraging is the idea that they would ever be perceived as having earned what they have because of their gender.

Far from moving us forward on gender issues, groups like this move us backward.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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