When the new Congress meets in January, Americans will see record numbers of women 20 in the 100-member Senate and 81 in the 435-member House. Our national legislative body is starting to look a little more representative of the nation.
But something's still missing.
On the one hand, the Senate has women chairing four of its 20 committees including California Sens. Barbara Boxer, who will head the Environment and Public Works Committee, and Dianne Feinstein, the Intelligence Committee. Republicans, in the minority, also have turned to women as the ranking member on four committees. Women are well represented.
The House, however, is skewed and things are getting worse.
Majority Republicans currently have only one woman chairing a committee. In contrast, minority Democrats have women as the ranking member on four committees, and the Democratic leader is Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco.
For the new Congress, House Speaker John Boehner announced committee chairs on Tuesday. No women in the bunch. By comparison, minority Democrats expect to have women as the ranking member on five committees.
Perhaps Boehner ought to resort to some Romney-style "binders full of women."
While former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney got a lot of ribbing for that debate comment on his search to fill Cabinet positions as governor of Massachusetts, at least he got something out of the binders. Of his first 33 hires to senior-level positions, 42 percent were women.
When Pelosi was House speaker from 2006-2010, three women chaired committees.
Boehner has a smaller pool of Republican women 20, compared with 61 Democratic women. But that is the problem, isn't it?
Republicans lost races in part because their male nominees made outrageous statements about rape and abortion. Based on the committee assignments, Boehner and his fellow Republicans must not have heard the message of Nov. 6.
Shutting women out of House committee chair positions certainly won't improve Republicans' standing with women voters who make up more than half of the electorate and will make it harder to recruit qualified candidates.