Local councils see increase in women members

Gabriela Krupa
Staff Writer

Both La Verne and Pomona city councils have seen a dramatic increase in women membership in recent years.

Women currently hold 18.5 percent of both houses of Congress. And while this clearly does not reflect the U.S. population, it does represent a gradual improvement toward gender equity at the highest level of government.

La Verne’s City Council now has two women on a four-position council, and Pomona’s city council is made up of mostly women.

“We have … shown to our community that we have the passion, intelligence and ability to make our community a better place,” said Debra Martin, Pomona city council member.

“I am proud to be a part of that team.”

Robin Carder, La Verne city council member, said her goal was to help children and use her experience with the Bonita School Board to support that goal.

“Women (in politics) are not limited to issues such as birth control, childcare, education and health,” said Gitty Amini, associate professor of political science at the University.

“Those are just the areas they are associated the most with to become established.”

Carolyn Bekhor, associate professor of legal studies said women need to “play the game” to be taken seriously.

“Women need to settle in more until they earn the credibility or respect to make a change,” Bekhor said

Though Carder said: “You cannot be mild or they will walk all over you.”

“It takes a lot for women to be taken seriously,” Amini said adding that women like Eleanor Roosevelt paved the way for other women.

Because they were victims of their time, women like Roosevelt had to build their way up to the role by taking on issues such as human rights and labor laws.

“I was told a woman would never make it as a council member (in La Verne),” Carder said.

“It is incredible that women have come so far (here),” Martin said.

In 2007, Donna Redman was the first woman to run and win a La Verne city council seat, Carder said. In 2009, Carder became the second woman to ever serve on the La Verne City Council.

“I think women bring compassion and sincerity to the council,” Carder said.

Pomona’s City Council has five women and one man, and since 2008 it has been a majority female council.

Martin was elected to Pomona’s City Council in 2012.

John Notle, the only man currently on the Pomona City Council, said he thinks it is great to be part of a council composed of a majority of women.

Carder said that the residents of La Verne elected her because of the different perspective she brings to the community.

Carder was part of the Bonita Unified School District, Financial Committee, Gold Line Committee, La Verne Chamber Of Commerce, Youth Sports Committee and Sister Cities Representative.

“Females have increased in many areas, especially in higher office like the Supreme Court,” Bekhor said.

Three women currently have seats on the Supreme Court including the most recently added Sonia Sotomayor appointed in 2009.

Amini added that Hilary Clinton established her place because of every other woman before her, making each one a product of her time.

“Eleanor Roosevelt could not run for president in her time, not saying she wasn’t capable, but Hillary Clinton is now able to because women are more established,” Amini said.

Gabriela Krupa can be reached at gabriela.krupa@laverne.edu.

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