Haley Makes History
Wed, 12 Jan 2011 23:04:58 GMT —
Nikki Haley's inauguration marks the beginning of her term, but it could also mark the beginning of a shift in South Carolina politics.
Since 1776, only 85 people have earned the title Governor of South Carolina. Haley is the first female and first minority.
On the steps of the Capitol Building, Haley was swore in Wednesday in front of thousands to become the thirty-third American female governor all-time.
She becomes the second governor in American history of Indian-American decent. Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiania being the other.
With the ceremony to make the 38 year-old republican governor, some say it shows a dramatic change in South Carolina politics.
"We have 55 percent of our voters are women." Southeast Institute for Women in Politics Co-Founder Mary Eaddy says, "and we need more women to serve." She believes Haley stands as a spokeswoman for South Carolina women interested in pursuing a career in politics. "I think that women have high expectations of her performance, and I think men do too. But I also think she'll have high expectations for herself."
South Carolina ranks at the bottom for women serving in state's office. With 13 percent of women in the House and zero percent in the Senate, the state is far below the national average of 25 percent.
"We are behind on that curve," says Eaddy, "but I think we will catch up."
Political analyst Eddie Dyer believes Wednesday's inauguration shows how far women have come since 1919 when they were first granted the right to vote.
He says more females than males are in law school so he believes over time more women will look to obtain public office. "Politics before this last generation or two have been a man's game with very few women." Dyer says.
He says even though it has been nearly a century women being elected to public office has been slow. "Getting the right to vote, then involve, then the right to hold office, it comes generationally."