According to CNN, “A record number of Senate races this year feature female nominees for both of the major parties, in another sign of the political success women are having heading into the midterms.”
The “record number” of races that are, to use CNN’s framing, “woman vs. woman,” you might ask? Six—less than half the number of the Senate races this year (15, by my count), which are “man vs. man.”
Putting aside the idea that women running against women is somehow a measure of success, when at least half of those women are members of a party that doesn’t really believe in supporting poor women, women who want to get an abortion, or trans women, I’m getting a little tired of the framing—repeated ad nauseum this year—that 2018 is somehow the “year of the woman.” CNN, to be fair, is not the only outlet to make this somewhat dubious claim.
To all of this, I offer a corrective: Maybe, stop?
From Cook Political Report:
[A]ccording to Jennifer Lawless, the director of the Women & Politics Institute at American University and a renowned expert on the topic, the number of women running for office is significant, but it’s not record-breaking. She tells me that “this cycle, women comprise nearly 22 percent of congressional candidates. In 2010 and 2014, it was approximately 19 percent. So, while that represents an increase, it’s nowhere near the increase the raw numbers of women running would suggest.”
And from The Nation:
But history suggests caution. 1992 was also the Year of the Woman, when outrage over Anita Hill’s treatment by the Senate Judiciary Committee fueled a wave of women elected to Congress. Yet 25 years later, too little has changed. Women outnumber men in America but comprise less than 20 percent of Congress, 8 percent of governors, 23 percent of all statewide elective offices, and 19 percent of all mayoralties. Isolated moments are not enough.