A Salute To Senator Barb From The (Eventual) Queen of Everything

A Salute To Senator Barb From The (Eventual) Queen of Everything

Adrienne BoettingerThursday,26 November 2015

Sometimes it feels like we’re living in olden times. Women won’t achieve economic or political parity for over 100 years–we  make up only 1/5 of Congress, 1/3 of the Supreme Court, and less than 1/5 of mayors. Hell, asshats are still asking if America is ready for a female President! Less than 5% of S&P and Fortune 500 companies are run by women and even now, in 2015, women do 2-3 times more housework than men.

GAHHHH!!!!!! Sorry, just had to let that rage out otherwise it clogs up all my delicate lady parts and I lose all critical thinking ability.

As I was saying, things are fairly craptastic when it comes to the life of the average woman. That’s why I want to take a moment to talk about the force of nature that is Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski – longest serving female Senator and recent recipient of the Medal of Freedom.

Senator Barb, as she’s referred to in the Twitterverse and amongst those from her home city of Bawlmer (aka Baltimore), has been a fighter since her days of community activism and social work in the 1960’s. She served in the House of Representatives and became the first female Senator elected in her own right (rather than filling a seat formerly occupied by a husband). She is tiny but not too short to break through glass ceilings in politics, be it becoming the Democratic Chair of the powerful Appropriations Committee or forcing the backwards Senate gym to allow women to enter despite the inconvenience it caused male Senators who liked to swim nekkid. (Quick, go google some pics of male U.S. Senators and then imagine ‘em swimming nude. Want to poke out your eyes yet?)

Mikulski had a fearful reputation for quite some time and was often named by Hill insiders as an extremely demanding Senator who required extreme precision and hard work from her staff. But you’ll find most of her staff stayed with her for years because she pushed them as hard as she pushes herself. She has fought for women, children, the environment, and education. She also has a remarkable ability to bring people together. She’s organized bipartisan dinners for female Senators for years and has served as a mentor not just to women on the Hill but men as well.

Unfortunately, I’m not Queen of Everything yet so I can’t declare a specific day as “Barbara Mikulski Day” or give this pint-sized phenom the credit she is due. But I can say honestly that she is an inspiration and a role model at a time when many girls (and more than a few women) need to see that not only can women serve in the same roles as men, but we can kick ass and take names while doing so.

P.S. Senator Mikulski announced in March she’ll step down when her term ends in 2017. Want to make sure women build on the progress we’ve made rather than push the date for political parity back even further? Support your female friends and family members who would be good candidates for local, state or national elections. Encourage your daughters and nieces to run. Donate to female candidates or to organizations like EMILY’S List who help female candidates. Vote for and help support female candidates whose positions you support.

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Image Credit: Maryland GovPics on Flickr

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