By Sarah Hardee, Enquirer -COVINGTON — For Covington’s first female mayor, one perk is serving as a role model to young girls in a state the Center for American Women and Politics ranks 38th in the nation for women in elective office.
“(Young girls) need to build confidence at an early age and know their strengths, so they can make the most of every opportunity,” said Mayor Sherry Carran.
A record-breaking 20 women are serving in the U.S. Senate this term and 78 women hold seats in the House of Representatives.
It’s a good time for women in politics, but the proverbial glass ceiling is not quite broken, according to Kathy Groob, author of “Pink Politics: The Woman’s Practical Guide to Winning Elections.”
Groob served two terms on Fort Mitchell City Council before campaigning for the Kentucky Senate in 2004 and again in 2008. She is the founder of ElectWomen.com, a founding board member of The Women’s Network and co-founder of Emerge Kentucky, a women’s candidate-training program.
The Covington resident will be signing books in her hometown this weekend and hosting a discussion about what is happening to elect more women.
She shared her thoughts on women in politics with The Enquirer.
• Why do we need more women in public office?
“Women are about 53 percent of the voting population and are severely underrepresented in the U.S. Congress, chief executive, state legislatures and local government. Bottom line: More women are voting than men, yet decisions about our lives and well-being are being decided by men. It’s about equality and balance. The voices of women under 40 are nearly absent from the political arena.”
• Why aren’t more women in politics?
“There is a gender gap in terms of political ambition, and I think that is because when you watch the Sunday morning political talk shows most of participants are men in suits. Women and girls are not seeing their role models or hearing the voices of many women in terms of government policy and budget issues. Women do not have the power circles for money and support that men often have.”
• What are some of the biggest obstacles women politicians face?
“Women are held to higher standards and therefore undergo more scrutiny when they do decide to run. Women lack the confidence that they can raise adequate funds to run a successful campaign. … All obstacles can be overcome with mentoring, training and encouragement.”■