Twenty-five years ago, women who chafed at the spectacle of an all-male Senate panel grilling Anita Hill over her allegations of sexual harassment rose up and entered the corridors of power. The media dubbed it “The Year of the Woman,” a title that sounded, to many, irritatingly temporary.
The explosive gains of 1992, which more than doubled women’s meager representation in Congress, gave way to incremental growth that merited no slogan. It would take women another two decades to grow their ranks on Capitol Hill by the 68 percent rate achieved in that single year.
This weekend, a quarter century after the Year of the Woman elevated expectations for women in politics, some 250 women gathered in Boston for the biennial convention of the National Women’s Political Caucus to consider what comes next. These days, women are bristling at fresh images of all-male panels negotiating away their maternity coverage, and though their outrage may prove to be as motivating as it was in the early 1990s, they are confounded to feel it a quarter century later.