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It's a Girls' World -- At Least More Than It Used to Be

June 14, 2010 - Joselyn King

 The 68th Rhododendron Girls State takes place this week in Wheeling -- with the goal of inspiring some of West Virginia's best and brightest females to become future leaders.

And they're far more likely to achieve that destiny in today's world than they were 68 years ago.

Current U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., recounted to the Girls State citizens Sunday a story from her first swearing in at the U.S. Capitol in January 2001. Beside her that day on the House floor was her father -- former governor and U.S. Rep. Arch A. Moore -- who served in the U.S. House from 1956-1958.

Capito asked her father if he remembered where the ladies' restroom was for House members.

"He told me, 'We only had three women here when I was here -- and they had to knock at the men's room door,'" Capito said.

"We've changed that."

There are presently 93 women among the 535 members of  Congress -- 76 in the House, and 17 in the Senate, according to Capito.

"That's the most women we've ever had," she noted. "But we're still woefully shy of where we should be.

"We make up at least 50 percent of the population, and we need more women leaders in Washington."

Capito acknowledged that she and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., "could not think more differently than anyone on this stage."

"But I'm proud she has risen to the top,"Capito said. "She did a lot for us as women.

"She's a tough, strong and able opponent, and a strong lobbyist for issues."

Capito also spoke well of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

"Whatever you want to say about her -- she's a strong and intelligent activist," she said.


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