Perspective: WIS editorial on women in politics by general manager Donita Todd

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Thursday was Women's Equality Day.  And though it's not a national holiday, this year women are celebrating the 90th anniversary of the constitutional amendment giving them the right to vote.  Just 90 years!  Many of us have grandmothers or great-grandmothers who were born before women could vote.

Women's Equality Day is also important to observe because women have a lot of political clout in this state.  But we have precious few women in office.  Look at these numbers: women cast 56% of the votes in the 2008 general election here, yet you could count the elected women at the State House on your fingers and toes.  There are just 17 of them in the 124-member House, and none in the Senate.

This year, a woman is running for Governor, and that's progress.  But South Carolina ranks last in the nation for the number of women holding elected office, especially at the state level.  Now, I don't want you women -- or men -- to just go vote for candidates because they are women.  What we need is more qualified women candidates.  And more voters of both sexes.

I would echo the call of the League of Women Voters to learn more about the history of women's suffrage and to follow suffrage pioneer Susan B. Anthony's motto, "Failure is impossible."  That's my perspective.  What's yours?

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