‘Gender equity’may require rethinking

Well-intentioned rules may now be producing unintended results

So-called “gender equity” rules have been adopted in some places with the specified goal of getting rid of good old boy dominance in politics. Sometimes they backfire.

In Pennsylvania, two women who should have won election to the Democratic Party Central Committee in Philadelphia are being told “no dice.” They ran afoul of a gender-equity rule.

Judi Golding and Mariel Martin were among the top eight vote-getters in the primary election for central committee seats. According to popularity among voters, they should have won.

But the party has a rule requiring roughly equal representation between women and men on such committees. The idea years ago was to ensure that women, even if they did not receive as many votes as men, would get more committee seats.

This year, however, a substantial number of women ran in Philadelphia. Golding and Martin were among those garnering more votes than most of the men.

Unless something changes, two men will be seated on the central committee. Both women received at least a thousand votes more than the males.

Like so many rules meant to promote subgroups, whether they involve gender or race, this one has been counterproductive for Pennsylvania Democratic women.

Despite what some people would have us believe, most Americans cast their votes for those they believe are the best people for public or party service. Gender and race are immaterial — though yes, they were factors at one time.

Perhaps it is time for Pennsylvania Democrats — and others with similar rules — to rethink whether they are necessary.

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