January 26 seemed just like any other post-snowstorm day in Washington, D.C., for the most part; many businesses were still closed and even the federal government, which had officially reopened, wasn’t bustling with activity.
As Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) presided over the Senate in a brief administrative hearing, they noticed that not all 100 senators had made it into the office for work, and quite a few staffers were absent as well.
“As we convene this morning, you look around the chamber, the presiding officer is female. All of our parliamentarians are female. Our floor managers are female. All of our pages are female,” said Sen. Murkowski in her opening remarks.
“Perhaps it speaks to the hardiness of women,” Murkowski said, “that you put on your boots and put your hat on and get out and slog through the mess that’s out there.”
Collins, talking with the NY Daily News, agreed that it was unexpected — but in the best way possible.
“I couldn’t help but be struck by two facts when I was presiding over the Senate,” stated Collins. “First, the two Senators who made it in, were from Maine and Alaska. We are hardy, we know how to deal with snow, and we don’t let a blizzard stop us from doing our jobs.”
“The second important fact on the Senate Floor was that it was all women who made it to work,” she added. “All of the staff on the Senate floor, from the Parliamentarian to the Clerk who calls the role, were all women. I don’t quite know what to make of that, but I thought it was an interesting phenomenon.”
Because so few Senators were present, the hearing had to be delayed until Wednesday.
Still, we might be inclined to theorize that Tuesday’s session was somehow still productive with so many women present. And maybe — just maybe — it’s a sign that more women are willing to take charge even during the worst of times.