09/29/2008 05:06 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Palin-Clinton Campaigns Overshadow Dearth of Women's Representation in American Politics

This month, Rwanda made global history when it became the first nation where women outnumber men in parliament. And according to a newly-released UN study, there has been a marked increase in women's political participation worldwide.

Yet for all the advances women are making on the global front, women's political participation is lagging far behind the times here at home. Although the high-profile candidacies of Senator Clinton and Governor Palin have called attention to the viability of women in positions of leadership, the U.S. ranks an abysmal 71st in the world for women's political representation. And from the executive branch to the legislative wing, women are highly outnumbered as leaders by their male peers.

There's still hope, however, for our nation to live up to its ideals as a truly representational democracy. In an op-ed in today's Newsday, I wrote about our country's best hope for a new cadre of leaders - the diverse array of passionate, articulate, and dedicated women who are eager to serve our communities and country and lead us to a better future. For all the tumult in our social, political, and economic landscapes, these women might just be the best and brightest hope for the leadership our country so desperately needs.