North Dakota Republicans had a new state party chair elected this past weekend, but the elections for other officers didn’t pass without some controversy, specifically those regarding some bylaw enforced gender rules in the bylaws as reported by our good friend to the north, sayanythingblog.com:
You see, the NDGOP has two vice chair position. There is a Vice Chairman and a Vice Chairwoman. You can read about the definitions of these positions in the NDGOP rules, but basically the duty of the Vice Chairman is to “preside at all meetings of the State Committee” when the Chairman is unavailable while the duties of the Vice Chairwoman is to “assist the State Chairman, act as liaison between the Republican Party and the Republican Women of North Dakota, and to perform such other duties as the State Chairman may from time to time request.”
There is also a strange provision for vacancies in the Chairman position whereby the Vice Chairman succeeds the Chairman if that person is a woman, and the Vice Chairwoman succeeds the Chairman if that person is a man.
It’s all a little strange.
Anyway, I spoke with Toman about her bid and her position is that the Vice Chairman position is and should be gender-neutral under current rules. The position of some others in the party, on the other hand, is that the two sub-Chairman positions are clearly defined by gender and that the rules can’t simply be ignored.
Toman wanted to be Vice Chairman, not Vice Chairwoman.
South Dakota Republicans aren’t immune to similar rules. In fact, I believe they go from the lower levels of organization of the party at the county level to the top, at the national level; where rules state if the Chair is male, the vice-chair is female.
Do gender enforced roles help keep an equal balance in the party, since men tend to be over-represented in the world of politics? Or is the gender based selection of the vice chair an outdated concept which actually prevents things, such as women serving as chair and vice chair at one time?