Ward-Pugh Wants More Women in Public Office

by Phillip M. Bailey on March 28, 2011

Reacting to the death of former U.S. Vice Presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro, a Louisville lawmaker says more should be done to bridge the gender gap locally.

Only 15 percent of the Kentucky General Assembly is female. The national average is 24 percent. And the commonwealth is among 19 states without a single female member of Congress.

Councilwoman Tina Ward-Pugh is dissatisfied with the lack of women in Metro government, which is falling behind other cities, she says.

“There’s no question though that there needs to be a more reflective representation of our community and that would include a great deal more number of women in service,” says Ward-Pugh. “I think that just as we focus on ensuring there’s racial equality, perhaps we should look at gender equality.”

There are eight women in the Democratic caucus on the council. Since former council members Julie Raque Adams and Ellen Call left in 2009, the GOP caucus has been uniformly white and male.

Since merger, only one woman has served as Metro Council President. There has never been a female mayor in the city’s history. But overcoming those barriers will require women to find their voice and see running for office as a necessity, says Ward-Pugh.

“Some of the barriers have to do with women growing up–whether they’re Girl Scouts or Girl’s Club or debate team or athletes–girls and women need to grow up believing that they should be and they have a responsibility to be engaged in the political debate in this country,” she says.

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