Female voters and the politicians they helped elect could shed light on America’s first woman president

Andy Radia
Canada PoliticsNovember 7, 2012

"Did America just elect its first woman president?"

That's the weird yet intriguing headline on the website of Forbes magazine.

No, they're not insinuating that Barack Obama had a sex-change or anything like that. They are, however, shedding light on a historical election day for America's women.

According to reports,  a record number of women have been elected to the U.S. Senate. For the 113th Congress, the fairer sex will occupy at least 19 spots of the 100 seat Senate.

The current number is 17.

According to Bloomberg, the increased number of women in both Congress and the governorships is buoyed by the State of New Hampshire which became the first state to ever have a girl-power sweep.  As of Tuesday, the Granite State has women in the governor's mansion and in all House and Senate seats.

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And, according to Forbes, among this contingent of women could be America's first woman president.

"It is a well-worn Washington truism that every senator looks in the mirror and sees a potential president, but many of the 2013 class of female U.S. Senators have bigger supporters than themselves for any White House aspirations.

A handful have already been bandied about as potential Vice Presidential and even Presidential picks by their parties in the election cycles ahead."

Forbes notes that New York senator Kirsten Gillibrand, former Obama staffer Elizabeth Warren and Minnesota's Amy Klobuchar have all been mentioned as potential VP and presidential candidates.

It's not clear, however, if any of these women were in Mitt Romney's 'binders.'

Has Canada elected its first women Prime Minister?

We did have Kim Campbell as our first female prime minister but she was elected in a Progressive Conservative leadership contest, not in a general election.

Canada is slightly ahead of the U.S. when it comes to female representation in the federal government. Women now account for 24.7 per cent of the seats in the House of Commons and 38 per cent of the seats in the Senate.

But, when analysts discuss potential successors to our current major party leaders, you rarely hear the names of women. When potential successors for Stephen Harper come up, for example, we're provided with a list of names that include the likes of Jason Kenney, Peter MacKay and James Moore.

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Michelle Rempel and Rona Ambrose have been impressive MPs but haven't been mentioned as future leaders. There is, however, always chatter about Alberta premier Alison Redford potentially, one day, making the jump to federal politics.

On the opposition benches, the NDP's Peggy Nash and Niki Ashton did vie for their leadership earlier this year. Megan Leslie and Rathika Sitsabaiesan are also seen as rising stars.

Deborah Coyne (who has never been elected to office) is running for the federal Liberal leadership but is not expected to win. Other potential female leadership candidates include MP Joyce Murray and former MP Martha Hall Findlay.

Has Canada elected its first female Prime Minister? Or, are we still waiting?