The Impact of #MeToo on Women in Politics

Steve Adubato sits down with Debbie Walsh, Director, Center for American Women and Politics, Rutgers University, to examine the role of women in legislature and how the #MeToo movement has made an impact on women in politics.

7/6/19 #314






"This is Debbie Walsh, Director of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. We were talking about... let's disclose previously, we were both Eagleton Fellows? Fellows. Right. We were in the graduate program at the Eagleton Institute of Politics. Yes. I barely got in and barely got out. So let's do this Debbie. Let's talk about women in politics. Women make up what percent of the population in New Jersey? About 51% in New Jersey and nationally. And in the state legislature in New Jersey, of the 120 members of that august body, there are how many women? About 31% of the legislature is female. 31? 31%. Because? Oh, so many reasons Steve. New Jersey has been a tough place for women to break in. I will tell you that at 31% we're doing better than we have in a very long time. We rank 19th in the nation. We used to be, just a year ago, 13th in the nation. But when the elections happen in 2018, and we saw so many women getting elected across the country, even though New Jersey's numbers stayed the same, we dropped in our rank. But we are doing better. It used to be 15 years ago we were in the bottom ten with Alabama and Mississippi, and a lot of work has been done to try to increase the number of women in office in New Jersey. But there remain a lot of hurdles, and I think in large part, the greatest one is the party structure. Let's talk about this. Is it fair to say that most of the party leaders, the party structure, the party power brokers, those who you don't read about...? Well I'll put it this way. You don't see them on this show a lot but they're the folks who make a lot of decisions about who gets to run. They're just middle-aged and older white men? Older white men. And if you look around the state, on both sides of the aisle, I think it's only about nine women who are currently state party... who are currently county party chairs. Right. The rest of them are all men. And those folks make a lot of decisions about who gets to run and frankly who doesn't get to run. They're not always looking for women? Not always looking for women. And it's not necessarily a transparent process in New Jersey. A lot of the times, these decisions are made behind closed doors and women are not in the room. We run a nonpartisan campaign training program called Ready to Run in New Jersey. We get close to 200 women every year who sign up, and they are ready to run, and they..."