POLITICS: 2006 is the breakthrough year of women leaders in the United States. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) becomes the first woman and first self-identified feminist Speaker of the House. As the third-in-line to the presidency, Pelosi now holds the highest public office achieved by a woman in United States history.
The 110 th Congress will have the largest number of women chairing committees: including Representatives Louise Slaughter, Nydia Velazquez, Juanita Millender MacDonald, and Stephanie Tubbs Jones and Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer will all head committees beginning in January 2007.
Women voters led the way in the 2006 election: the gender gap proves to be a determining factor in electing the new Congress. If only men had voted, exit polls show that the Republicans would have maintained control of the Senate.
A record number of women were elected to Congress (90) and state legislative seats (1,731). However, the U.S. still lags behind many other countries with women comprising only 16.3 percent of Congress and 23.5 percent of state legislatures.
Voters send a pro-women's rights message when they decisively defeat a draconian abortion ban in South Dakota and parental notification measures in Oregon and California. Women voters led the drive to approve a minimum wage increase in six states (AZ, CO, MO, MT, NV, OH) and to defeat a ban on same-sex marriage in Arizona .
HEALTH: The Food and Drug Administration issues two approvals for women's health and lives: after a long campaign by women's rights and reproductive health organizations, emergency contraception is approved to be sold without a prescription for women 18 and over; Gardasil, a vaccine for women and girls that prevents the spread of certain strands of the human papilloma virus (HPV) that can cause cervical cancer, is approved.
EDUCATION: Two major Title IX sex discrimination cases are finally settled in favor of girls' sports teams that were receiving proportionately less funding than their male counterparts at both a high school in Birmingham, AL and public schools in Prince George's County, MD.
BUSINESS: Indra Nooyi is named CEO of PepsiCo, becoming the 11 th woman to head a Fortune 500 Company. However, women still hold only 1.7 percent of corporate officer positions at the nation's largest companies.
TELEVISION: Katie Couric becomes the first woman at any network to anchor the weekday evening newscast alone and Ugly Betty , the first primetime television show to feature a working-class Latina , premiers as one of the hottest shows on network TV.
INTERNATIONAL: 2006 is the year of women leaders worldwide: Michelle Bachelet is elected the first woman president of Chile, immediately appointing a gender-balanced Cabinet and requiring gender parity in all government appointments; Ellen Sirleaf-Johnson is inaugurated as president of Liberia, becoming the first woman to head an African nation; Portia Simpson Miller was elected Jamaica's first woman prime minister; and Han Myeong Sook became the first woman Prime Minister of South Korea.
Saturday, December 23, 2006
Top Ten Victories for Women in 2006
Compiled by the editors of Ms. Magazine: