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PA Politician [Feb. 12th, 2004|01:45 pm]
As the only woman from Pennsylvania in either the House of Representatives or the Senate, I researched Congresswoman Melissa Hart, who represents southwestern Pennsylvania. Hart is the first female Republican to serve in the House of Representatives and was the first female Republican to serve in the state Senate.

Because she is one of a few Republican women in Congress, Hart’s comments and stance about women’s issues are often listened to, at least more so than her male colleagues’ remarks. As a result, it is important to examine what issues are important to her and what her priorities are.

Hart does not place a particular emphasis on women’s issues, except for those relating to pregnant women/abortion. She proudly co-sponsored the “Unborn Victims of Violence Act”, which increases penalties for assailants who harm an unborn child or the child’s mother. She also opposes making the Morning-After Pill available over the counter, citing that adolescent girls, in particular, will use it as the only form of birth control. Reading articles with her comments about such women’s issues as these, it was clear that Hart’s gender played a big role in highlighting her credibility. (For example, see: http://hart.house.gov/News.asp?FormMode=detail&ID=169, where she is the only person quoted.) After all, if a woman thinks that the Morning-After Pill should not be used, then maybe we should pay attention to her and rethink our decisions.

Hart appears to have no stance on any other “women’s issues” and appears to cater her priorities toward poverty, the elderly and education. However, I have not found any evidence of work that she has done to help college students or address young adult issues (other than those related to reproductive health).

Perhaps looking at Pennsylvania’s State Senate and House of Representatives will provide a broader picture of female politicians in Pennsylvania and give a better idea of the range of issues they support.
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The Contender and whatnot [Feb. 12th, 2004|01:39 am]

[music |Help Pour Out The Rain (Lacey's Song)-Buddy Jewel]

While the movie's look into the opposition women face in their quest for success, I'm not really sure that I felt The Contender fit with our collective. It did bring up some issues, such as how a woman's sexual past is much more likely to come back to haunt them than a man in the same position.

If anything the movie served to really solidify my belief that this election year is important for women, both on the local and national levels. I would like to see our collective take some active role in the election process. Perhaps some something more along the lines of an "activist" project. While I think it is important to look at women in politics as participants ( lawmakers, etc), I don't think we can ignore the power of voting and the average woman. Something like the get out her vote campaign may be a good way to get involved.

On a somewhat unrelated note, are we supposed to post our research? If so let me know and I'll make sure to add it before class.
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The Contender [Feb. 12th, 2004|12:04 am]
At this stage in the political arena, much of the focus has shifted from the Bush administration to the Democratic nomination. Although no women are currently in the race, it is still important to examine the role that women as a whole play in politics - both as legislators/politicians and as voters. In order to find out more about the way women are treated in politics and the importance of women's issues, we watched The Contender. The film is about a woman who is nominated for Vice President after the current VP dies. There is harsh opposition to her nomination, and the Committee hearings reflect their dislike for the candidate.

Although the film doesn't directly address women's issues, it still highlights the different ways women are treated in politics and how important it is to stay true to your principles no matter what. Even though Joan Allen is not involved in any of the sexual scandals or affairs which she is accused of, she does not deny the actions. While you may assume that is because she is guilty, in fact, she remains indifferent in order to prove a point. If a man were in the same situation, he would not be subject to the same intense questioning or scrutiny to which she was.

Even though Joan Allen's character risks her political career by not denying the allegations, in the end she is more respected and ends up basically winning the Vice Presidency. Unfortunately not all political stories have happy endings in the real world, but the film still illustrates the opposition a woman in politics faces and the differential treatment she receives.

Based on these ideas, it is important (and interesting!) to examine female politicians - what they stand for, their backgrounds and their beliefs. Please include input, suggestions and thoughts!
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