Record number of women sworn into new U.S. Congress

Thu Jan 3, 2013 2:05pm EST
 
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By Richard Cowan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - If the new U.S. Congress that convened on Thursday turns out to be less confrontational, more willing to reach reasoned, bipartisan compromise, less ... well ... on steroids, there could be a reason.

A record number of women were sworn in as members of the 113th Congress as a result of elections last November 6.

The 80 women members of the House of Representatives are joining a total of 20 female senators - a record crop for both chambers, which have been dominated by men - white men - from the time the first U.S. Congress was seated in 1789.

The 100 women of the 113th U.S. Congress - out of 535 members - will be thrown into a pressure cooker with huge fights already brewing over reducing federal budget deficits, imposing new controls on gun ownership and reforming badly outdated immigration laws and the tax code.

Last month, in the midst of a bitter budget and tax battle known as the "fiscal cliff," two female senators told ABC News that if women were in charge, things would have been fixed much more easily.

"I think if we (women) were in charge of the Senate and of the administration, we would have a budget deal by now," said Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine. "With all deference to our male colleagues, women's styles tend to be more collaborative," she said.

Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill agreed. "By nature we are less confrontational and more collaborative," the Missouri lawmaker said. "Not only do we want to work in a bipartisan way, we do it."

MEN STILL MORE INFLUENTIAL   Continued...

 
U.S. congressional candidate Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), former Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, who lost both of her legs to injuries sustained while serving as a U.S. Army helicopter pilot in combat in Iraq, gestures as she addresses delegates during the first day of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, September 4, 2012. REUTERS/Jason Reed