Where Have All the Women Gone??

Remember the folk song that began “Where have all the flowers gone?” Well, I want to know where all the women candidates have gone. My specific question is: where are the women candidates slated by the parties to run for the Indianapolis City-County Council?

There are 25 districts remaining since the Republicans in the General Assembly eliminated the 4 at-large seats held by Democrats.

The Republicans slated seven women. The Democrats slated only five.

As a mere girl, my math skills are understandably weak, but I believe women are over 50% of the voting public. The Republicans slated women for fewer than 30% of the seats; the Democrats–presumably the party of inclusion and women’s rights–slated women in only 20%.

Worse still, each party refused to slate an incumbent woman who’d been effective and hard-working, but difficult for party bosses to control; the Republicans unceremoniously dumped Christine Scales, who had angered her GOP cohorts by demonstrating independent judgment and a willingness to work across the aisle, and the Democrats decided that LeRoy Robinson–who no longer had an at-large seat and needed to “be taken care of”–should get priority over Angela Mansfield, who has ably represented District 1.

Both women had put the interests of their constituents above partisanship. (Isn’t that just like a woman?!)

Bless their little hearts, those girls didn’t listen to their manly betters, and they needed to be removed.

Message sent and received–and isn’t the bipartisanship of that message encouraging?

No wonder more women don’t run for office.


  1. ALG; “who would want that job?” Women who are willing to fight for the rights of ALL others…including men…would want that job. Have you seen the movie, “Iron Jawed Angels”? Watch it and see real fighters for only one of our rights – the right to vote. So many women who are registered voters of both parties didn’t bother to vote and here we are. The GOP’s War On Women is obviously working and has scared away the fighters – or they are so busy working full time jobs and being full time mothers trying to live on lower wages that they don’t have the time or energy to get into the fight. The younger generation of women do not seem to have the incentive to fight – Sheila has been in the battle for a long time and never lost her incentive. Maybe our generation provided rights for them so they don’t understand they must fight to keep those rights. Many of us have been asking, “…where are all of the Republican women who are being victimized by the GOP…?” We must now ask where are all of the Democratic women who have been victimized? If only I were not 77, deaf and disabled I would join the battle…if I could find a battle to join.

  2. I was hoping, Sheila, as I read, that you were going to offer some insight as to why more women don’t engage at that level.

  3. I’ve always entertained the illusion that once the men have shown, hands down, that they really can’t handle elected positions, the women would come in and show how it’s done, but in Northern Indiana we have some excellent women legislators who tell us that the some of the female representatives are more mean-spirited and nasty than the men are. I guess that only suggests that whatever they do, they do it even better than the men. I was just hoping that it wouldn’t be on the dark side. So much for false hopes.

    All of this means that we need a much better representation of women, if for no other reason that when the whole works goes down the tank, they will share in the blame.

  4. And when we have smart and independent women who choose to run for and then get elected to public office, they are removed them from the status of “recommended” candidates when they prove too difficult for the men to control.

  5. There’s a really great article on The Baffler about Sony Exec Amy Pascal “The Woman in the Room” and how she rose up in her industry, and then fell. It says a lot about women and power and how they can grasp (and lose it) that has some parallels in Indiana politics.

  6. When we stop insisting that women have many of the same flaws as men when it comes to dealing with politics and power, we may understand what we are seeing now.

    I hate what the Republicans are doing to Glenda Ritz and other women in this state. I also am very disappointed in the Democrats who seem to choose their candidates on some sort of patronage system rather than fielding the most qualified and effective candidate.

  7. The intelligent women that have the guts to fight for what is right are forced out. It’s the same way in the business world. If you refuse to accept that even as a woman in a leadership position you must still remain silent and do as you are told to do, then the men (and the women who do know their place and bow down to those men) will get rid of you as quickly as they can.

    And JoAnn is right about where most of the young female voters are – they ARE working at low paying jobs while trying to raise their children. There is no time or energy for them to even think about politics. However, the sad thing about women my age (50’s) is that most of them actually could not care less about politics and don’t want to talk about what is going on in our state or country. They actually care only about what is going on in their tiny little world at their jobs or homes and are completely oblivious to who or what is really controlling their lives. In my neck of the woods, finding another woman who actually even tries to be informed is very rare.

  8. If Glenda Ritz wants to be governor, I think she has experienced a scenario that would help her greatly along those lines. Glenda Ritz, representative of God/mother/apple pie, and smart, caring person gets beat up by heartless/soulless, judgmental and nasty governor who has come down on the wrong side of history on a number of issues and stomped on the sense of fairness held by most people. He and his buddies have messed over public education, and the top 100 school districts are suffering, cutting programs, pleading for classroom supplies. That angers the teachers who are the best educated folks in the communities which constitute an identifiable group, the most trusted, the most networked, most distributed yet simultaneously the most present people across the state who work with your kids. (All politics is local!) And then they get mobilized? She got more votes than the governor the last time around, just to give us a taste of what can happen. Instead of making peace with her (the right political thing to do), the governor actually alienates her! (Dumb on steroids!) Looks like a setup for a win, to me. Now, there is an Indiana woman who could win. I think the same 1.3 million people would vote for her again.

  9. “Worse still, each party refused to slate an incumbent woman who’d been effective and hard-working, but difficult for party bosses to control; the Republicans unceremoniously dumped Christine Scales, who had angered her GOP cohorts by demonstrating independent judgment and a willingness to work across the aisle, and the Democrats decided that LeRoy Robinson–who no longer had an at-large seat and needed to “be taken care of”–should get priority over Angela Mansfield, who has ably represented District 1.

    “Both women had put the interests of their constituents above partisanship. (Isn’t that just like a woman?!)”

    Although I agree this is what happened to Scales and Mansfield, and that it probably rankles the party elite more when a woman stands up to them, I have to ask: since when do women have a monopoly on getting kicked out of politics for using independent thinking and doing the right thing?

  10. The saddest part of this whole discussion is that none of you have any idea what you are talking about. No “party boss” put their thumb on the scale. The drama in City-Council 1 occurred because one side BARELY organized and prepared for a predictable process better than the other. Period.

  11. I don’t know JoAnn. I think you’d make a great candidate. You’ve worked in local government and know what it is like to be disabled and seem to be very knowledgeable about civics. The problem is that no one would listen to you because you’re elderly AND a woman. (Sorry that was not meant to hurt you, just state what you’ve said). You have two strikes against you but me, I don’t live in the states anymore so I don’t qualify.

    And Nancy, bingo. Most of my lady friends in their 50s are cooing over their grandkids now. Or they are trying to keep a household running with their children or grandkids living with them because of the job market that tanked. And most of them came of age when Nixon “was not a crook” and turned themselves off of politics like I did. I didn’t pay attention again until 9/11 and was so naive, it took me years to get up to speed thanks to Jon Stewart and the Daily Show that I finally found in 2007. I worked full time in IT meaning on call 24/7/365, finished my degree at 45 and kept my own house with a kitty. That was all I could muster.

    I don’t know any millionaires so I don’t know anyone that has the time or the money to entertain political opportunities. And are they really opportunities? Again, who would want that job? Oh yeah, The Koch brothers, the Clintons, the Bushes…ad nauseum. We’re doomed I tell you. Doomed.

  12. ALG; no hurt taken from your comments – repeating my own – and I know your meaning. At a family dinner this past Sunday; the status of my attack and robbery case came up. Trial date continued again (3rd time) but according to one deputy prosecutor Mark Jones is still in jail under $160,000 bond. It is my belief this will never get to trial; it will be continued till a plea agreement is reached and this violent coward will be released to our streets due to time served. After all; it was only four old women attacked and robbed. Someone at the table commented that we need a law against attacks on the elderly; when I mentioned it to the original detective the day after I was mugged – he had never heard of a law like this and didn’t seem familiar with hate crime laws anywhere. Now there has been a woman shot in the Market Street turnaround in front of the City-County Building. That is close to home for IMPD, the courts and Ballard; maybe the CC Council criminal committee will be spurred to action – it happened near them, too. Women don’t have the physical strength of men but we are stronger of heart, mind and spirit – and determination when we have a cause to fight for.

  13. I might be wrong and it wouldn’t be the first nor last time, but I think Pence is behind all this beating up on Glenda. He wants his party to make certain the world knows enough about how they want to destroy her position because she’s a Dem in Indiana and at the last moment, he will step in to veto their new law. Look America! I’m a moderate. See! Next step: White house! This man is slick as snot!

  14. As Thoreau and Emerson pointed out, institutions grow corrupt over time. It’s a wonder there are any good candidates, male or female, willing to sink into the slimy world of politics. But, you know, other jobs are like that too. I’ve always wanted to make independent decisions and fly under the radar. It’s the introvert in me. Difficult to do when everybody is expecting you to fall into their line, ethics be damned.

  15. We need more women in government, if not for any other reason than to proportionally represent the voting population. All the comments arguing women have flaws just like men are true, but maybe different flaws that bring different perspectives that could open the minds of others. We need to look no further than the legislative boys club ousting Glenda Ritz. We can sit by and comment on line about how awful it is, but the only way it will change is to elect smarter representatives to these positions that are not writing stupid ass bills that discriminate! And to the comments from men questioning why more women do not run, it’s not just intelligent women that do not run. It’s intelligent people that do not run. Overwhelming pessimism in the public toward organized government and religion is a big turn off to most. It’s not that we do not have faith or want to work to improve, it’s just so damned depressing how messed up things are people throw their hands up in the air with despair and do nothing…other than bitch on line. Guilty!

  16. Christine Scales is the best I’ve ever seen. She has done an extraordinary job of taking care of her constituents. She will absolutely have my vote in the primary even though I’ll have to declare Republican to do so. These days, that’s a repugnant thought to me!

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