Is It About More Women In Politics, Or More Liberal Women In Politics?


The North Dakota Women’s Network is an organization which claims to want more women in politics for no other reason than they believe there aren’t enough women serving in public office. They’re celebrating the fact that there’s more women serving in the legislature this year than any other time is history. Which is a victory, I guess, if you’re the sort of person who cares what gender your lawmaker is.

Personally, I’ve never really cared finding gender to be about as arbitrary as hair color or body weight when it comes to picking policymakers.

That supporting female candidates just because they’re female is about as odious as supporting male candidates just because they’re male is apparently lost on these people. One of my two daughters has expressed an interest in the law and politics. If she were ever to run for public office, I would hope people would vote for her because of her competence and policy views not because she has a certain set of sex organs.

But beyond the dubious goal of electing women for the sake of electing women, it almost feels as though the NDWN also cares about ideology about as much as gender. Case in point this fairly clueless report from KFYR television’s Jessica Roose which celebrates a newly-elected female Democrat to the state House without mentioning that said Democrat reached office by…defeating another woman.

When lawmakers were sworn in last month there were a few more women among them than in years past.

“We’re really excited to report that North Dakota is at a record high for the number of women serving in the legislature. We’re at 19 percent, which is still quite a small percentage of the legislative body. But, that is the highest we’ve ever been,” says Renee Stromme with the North Dakota Women’s Network.

And, she says getting more women to run has been mostly a recruitment issue.

“Women have to be asked over and over. Of course all candidates have to be asked but women need to. They are more likely to step up if they are asked and we continue to provide those tools and resources to help them take on those races,” says Stromme.

So who is held out as an example of this new class of female lawmakers? A female Democrat who replaced a female Republican, which is ironic for obvious reasons:

One of the women who is new to the legislature this year is Fargo Rep. Pam Anderson. She says she ran because she didn’t feel her district was best represented.

“So I decided at age 63 to enter politics and my goal was to be the number one vote getter and I was,” says Anderson.

Anderson, I’d point out, was elected in District 41 in November replacing long-time female lawmaker Rep. Bette Grande.

The NDWN would claim that they aren’t ideological, but they are. It’s not just about electing women because they’re women. It’s about electing liberal women because they’re women.

If it were otherwise, the NDWN might not be claiming victory for replacing one female lawmaker with another. They’re happy because they replaced a conservative female lawmaker.