Politically Savvy: Was 2008 a big year for women in politics?

I don't know about you, but I'm a little tired of hearing about the same things in the news right now: Rod Blagojevich, corruption, scandal, and the failing economy. It's a lot of doom and gloom out there in the news right now, and it's not looking pretty. But there is one piece of good news going around in the mainstream media right now, and that is the talk about whether 2008 was a big year for women in politics or not.

Was it? Some say yes — this year we saw Hillary Clinton make the first serious presidential run by a woman, and she claimed the votes of 18 million Americans. We saw Sarah Palin charm the Republican Party and represent working moms across America. But of course, both Palin and Clinton faced extra scrutiny, and sometimes attacks, because of their gender. Did that contribute to the fact that neither of them won the office they were running for?

The significance of Palin and Clinton's campaigns and subsequent losses can be debated, but one thing is for sure: there are a lot of other women in politics besides Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton, and they did make big strides this year. Both the House and Senate are welcoming record numbers of women into Congress come January, and that is a story worth talking about which is too often ignored in favor of more exciting stories about corruption, scandal, or the President-elect's new puppy. 

The House will be welcoming 78 female Representatives, and the Senate will welcome 17 female Senators. Now that's news worth getting excited about! 

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