Way back in the early 1990s, we published a subscription only newsjournal, Kentucky Journal of Politics & Issues.
KJP&I lasted until 1994 when we opened a bookstore, the realization of a dream of ours. Once we were out of the Capital City on a daily basis, motivation to publish and time to write dissipated into a world of books. KJP&I was history.
Last night, while rummaging through the dig that Ivan calls his study, he happened upon the only copy of the March 1993 issue. Serendipitous discovery!
After rereading the yellowed pages, we agreed that some of the content was worth revisiting. We reprint here two of the selections from the edition that we called "1992 Year of Women Misses Kentucky." In light of Emerge Kentucky's successes last week at the polls, the discussions taking place about the relationship between the sexes after the horrific murders in Santa Barbara over the holiday weekend, it's a good time to take a look back at where we were two decades ago in the Commonwealth.
Here's an excerpt of we said in March 1993 - we leave it to the reader to decide how much has changed over more than twenty years:
"The Year of the Woman passed through Kentucky like a shortlived sitcom. we watched record numbers of women in other states run for their party nominations, appear at the national political party conventions, and then run in the November races. All over America, women ran for seats never before occupied by their sex. Some were successful, like Carol Moseley Braun of Chicago becoming the first black woman to hold a U. S. Senate seat. Others like Lynn Yeakel of Pennsylvania, who challenged Senator Arlen Specter, fell short. But they ran.
...While the rest of the nation saw record numbers of women run for public office in 1992, Kentucky won the dubious honor of slipping into last place in number of female legislators. Women in Kentucky hold over 850 offices, only six of which are in the General Assembly. In 1990, only one woman was elected to statewide office. Veteran campaigner Francis Jones Mills won the office of treasurer by beating a crowded field of Democrats and an unknown Republican..
The nurturing system for up and coming politicians, the "old boy network" does not reach out to young women in Kentucky. Young businessmen become familiar with those in office and learn the ropes from male mentors. Mentors tend not to think of young women as potential candidates. Most young women are not comfortable approaching an older man for advice on their political aspirations. The old girl network of elected women is a small group. While women are beginning to serve as mentors, there are not enough to make an appreciable dent."
With groups like Emerge Kentucky and mentoring programs by both parties for their young people, the tide is turning. Since 1993, Kentucky has lifted itself from last place in the number of women in the General Assembly to 37th. Not a huge leap ten election cycles, but a move in the right direction.