In my last blog I boasted that Vermont was the number one state in the percentage of women in our state legislature. Yesterday there were new results from Colorado; two more women were elected. That gives Colorado the distinction of being the first state in the nation for women, at 38%. But Vermont and New Hampshire are not far behind, with 37.8% and 37.7% respectively. Once we drop the decimal points, we know that women will have arrived.
There still is a lack of women on the lists being floated by the Obama transition team and the press. It's hard to know which names are being leaked and which names is pure speculation. The absence of women in notable, either way.
There are no more excuses for leaving women out of the inner circles of power. Qualified women are everywhere. Women are ready for leadership; they just need to be identified and asked.
And women must promote themselves. Having worked in the Clinton transition, I can say from first-hand experience that the appointment process, like most things in life, is not based on merit alone. It involves politics in the broadest sense of the word. Those who speak up, those who use their connections are more likely to succeed than those who sit and wait.
When I was Governor and had to make appointments, ranging from cabinet positions to boards and commissions, I had a rule. I would not accept a list of potential appointees without a significant number of women on it. I hope President-elect Obama will do the same.
This was originally posted at Chelsea Green.
Madeleine M. Kunin is the former Governor of Vermont and was the state's first woman governor. She served as Ambassador to Switzerland for President Clinton, and was on the three-person panel that chose Al Gore to be Clinton's VP. She is the author of Pearls, Politics, and Power: How Women Can Win and Lead from Chelsea Green Publishing.