Re: No friend to women...

Suzi Parker’s post about Arkansas reminds me of some stats I came across last week in researching my story about the dearth of women in politics.

There are actually four states in the union that have never elected a woman to either house of Congress, and they seem to have almost nothing in common other than that. They are Iowa, Mississippi, Delaware and ... Vermont.

Vermont? Land of Ben & Jerry’s liberalism? The state that eight times elected a self-described socialist to the U.S. House and then promoted him to the Senate?

Clearly, there is something at work here other than ideology. And it did have a female governor, Madeleine Kunin, who served three terms in the late 1980s and early 1990s. And it has the second highest percentage of women in its legislature (38.3 percent) of any state in the country. They also chair all of the “money committees.”

So what explains this anomaly? Perhaps it is in part the fact that the state has only one seat in the House. But as Kunin put it in a recent television interview: “It still doesn’t look good when we’re with Mississippi.”

Karen Tumulty is a national political correspondent for The Washington Post, where she received the 2013 Toner Prize for Excellence in Political Reporting.

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