Huma Abedin. Next New York Congresswoman? With Anthony Weiner’s resignation announcement last week, there has been some chatter and hopeful speculation that Ms. Abedin will run for her husband’s Congressional seat. I can think of no better scenario.
Let’s face it. Women face unique barriers to political leadership. These barriers increase as the prestige and power of the position increases. Illustrating this is the dismal number of women in Congress (declining last election cycle from 17% to 16%,) and the fact that we have yet to see a woman President.
The traditional avenues to the presidency just don’t work for women right now. There are simply not enough women in the pipeline serving in the roles that are commonly used as steppingstones to the presidency (military, governorships, congress and the vice presidency). So what does this mean for women?
Well, we see from Hillary Clinton that women’s path to elected leadership might have to look a bit different. Cashing in on male privilege through their husbands may just be one of the ways that women are bypassing existing barriers to leadership. Perhaps Abedin will follow in her boss, Hillary Clinton’s footsteps and take this unconventional path to elected office. While both women are sharp, politically savvy and talented and have carved out successful careers on their own, I’m not going to complain if like Clinton, Abedin takes advantage of her husband’s position (and subsequent missteps) to hoist herself to the next level.*
The fact is, we need women to represent us in Congress and to fill the pipeline to the Presidency. As more and more women fill the seats of Congress, it will become commonplace and the idea that women belong in these positions will begin to trickle down and inspire more women to run. Each woman that is elected to Congress serves as a sledgehammer against that barrier that has been insurmountable for so many others. I’m betting that a swing of the sledgehammer by Huma Abedin would make a loud crack, reverberating across the nation, sending a clear message that women will break down that wall, one swing at a time.
Huma Abedin 2012!
*Yes, this model is highly problematic. Women shouldn’t need to be connected to a powerful man to attain leadership status themselves. However, if this is how we fill Congressional seats with women or elect a woman President, I am all for it.
**I’m also all for her dumping his Weiner ass.