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What's Up Magazine

The Increasing Power of a Woman’s Voice

Sep 29, 2011 04:33PM ● By Anonymous

Change has been on my mind a lot in recent weeks, and much like I speculated about how much impact ethics reform actually has had on the political landscape, the same questions come up about women in politics. How powerful is a woman’s voice in Maryland’s halls of power? Have things changed since I first started walking those halls? Change has occurred. There are more women involved in politics – both as elected officials and in the lobbying profession. The 2011 Legislative Session saw 58 women elected – with 11 Women Senators and 47 Women Delegates. It’s a far cry from the first elected woman in 1922 but still only represents 31% of the total General Assembly – and only 23% of the State Senate.

There are also several women in leadership positions as committee chairs and floor leaders – and even the first African-American female to be named the House’s Speaker Pro Tem – but when will a woman be the Speaker of the House or the President of the Senate? The same holds true in the lobbying world. In recent years there has been a steady uptick in the ranks of female lobbyists, but we are still in the minority.

As I talked about in a previous post, the overall political environment has changed too– and things are definitely not like when I started back in the 1970s. Back then it was a much more intimate community, with fewer “players” who had longer tenures. As with anything in life, how we connect with others make all the difference in what comes out of that relationship. As the pace of information gathering and sharing quickens and intensifies, so does the pace of our interactions with the political stakeholders, often times becoming more frequent but less in depth. Yes, there has been an increase in women lobbyists

As a group we have begun to stake out a true power base. How many more women will be involved in influencing policies and the legislative process in the future?