Last week an Arizona congressman came to give a briefing for our Washington Seminar class. He seems to be a dedicated, down-to-earth man with a good heart, and I really enjoyed hearing him speak.
Something he talked about caught my attention, however. He told us that he once played basketball with President Obama and several other delegates—something that, according to the Arizona congressman, is a regular White House event. He also spoke of the annual congressional baseball game between the Democrats and the Republicans in the House.
While it was fun to hear about big-time political figures participating in regular activities like basketball and baseball, I couldn’t help but wonder—what do the women in congress do? What kind of fun, casual opportunities are there for women in congress to socialize with all of the other delegates in a laid-back setting?
Networking and social activities are important in any profession, but I imagine they are all the more critical in politics. I fear the Congressional sports setting isolates female delegates and reenforces the traditional “Old Boys Club” mindset so entrenched in some of the public and professional spheres of our society. And while campaigns like Miss Representation and Name It Change It are working to change that mindset, we’ve still got a long way to go.
So does anyone have ideas for alternate social activities that Congress (or any business, for that matter) can do that would invite equal participation from both sexes? I welcome comments.