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A New 'Year of the Woman'? | The Nation

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Katrina vanden Heuvel

Katrina vanden Heuvel

Politics, current affairs and riffs and reflections on the news.

A New 'Year of the Woman'?

Editor’s Note: Each week we cross-post an excerpt from Katrina vanden Heuvel’s column at the WashingtonPost.com. Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.

A little more than twenty years ago, Anita Hill sat before a panel of fourteen US senators, all male, who aggressively questioned her claim that she had been sexually harassed by then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. As the nation watched the hearings, riveted and repulsed, one Washington state senator couldn’t help but ask herself: “Who’s saying what I would say if I was there?”

The answer? No one—there were only two women in the Senate at the time and neither was on the Judiciary Committee. And so, in 1992, Patty Murray, the self-proclaimed “mom in tennis shoes,” laced up and ran for US Senate. The Anita Hill effect spawned the “Year of the Woman,” when nineteen women won seats in the House, and four women, including Murray, won in the Senate.

Two decades later, a slew of Republican attacks on women, women’s health and women’s economic futures might just turn 2012 into another “Year of the Woman.” To understand why, it’s worth recapping this year’s parade of anti-women horrors.

Editor’s Note: Each week we cross-post an excerpt from Katrina vanden Heuvel’s column at the WashingtonPost.com. Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.

 

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