Women US senators ready to break another glass ceiling

December 18, 2008

US-SENATE/

 

WASHINGTON – Women are set to make history next month in the 220-year-old U.S. Senate.

For the first time since the Senate opened its doors in 1789, a pair of female lawmakers are in line to lead one of the chamber’s full committees.

Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana is set to chair the Small Business Committee and Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine is positioned to serve as the panel’s top Republican.

“It is a distinguished honor to join Senator Landrieu during this historic moment that will further empower women to pursue leadership roles within our country,” Snowe said.

To be sure, men dominate the Senate and American politics. But women have made big and high-profile gains in recent years.

At least 16 women will be U.S. senators next year, perhaps 17 depending on who succeeds Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York.

Clinton, who barely lost the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, will surrender her Senate seat after her anticipated confirmation next month as Barack Obama’s secretary of state.

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Among the contenders to replace Clinton is another woman, Caroline Kennedy, daughter of former President John F. Kennedy and a niece of Sen. Edward Ted Kennedy.

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque (women U.S. senators in January 2007)

REUTERS/Brian Snyder (Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg listens at a Harvard event)

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