Women in U.S. Politics

You’ve come a long way, baby! Those of us who are of a certain age remember those words not only as a clever slogan for a cigarette brand but as a battle cry for the new freedom of the women’s liberation movement. No longer would women have to stay in the kitchen and bedroom. We could take our rightful place in the boardroom.

In the early 1970’s, a popular T-shirt exclaimed, “A Woman’s Place is in the House—and in the Senate!” But, as we near the halfway mark of the first decade of the twenty-first century, a question remains. Baby, have you come far enough to take up residency in that elusive address: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?

While a woman president would represent a great symbolic milestone for women, a more basic issue for millions of American families remains the question of equal pay for equal work. The Equal Rights Amendment first introduced in 1923, still has not passed and women are still not guaranteed equal protection under the Constitution of the United States.

Perhaps, astrology may offer clues for the future of women in U.S. politics.

The State of Women in the U.S. Horoscope

To assess the state of women in the horoscope of the United States, we look to the Moon, which symbolizes women and the feminine archetype. While there is a great deal of controversy over which chart to use for the U.S., most people agree that July 4, 1776, is the psychological birthday of the U.S., if not the legal one. The matter of what time on that date the U.S. was “born” is a matter of considerable debate, one that is far beyond the scope of this article.

On July 4, 1776, the U.S. was blessed with Moon in Aquarius, a hallmark of freedom and democracy. The Moon in Aquarius is associated with progressive and original-thought, but since Aquarius is a fixed sign it is often difficult to see another’s point of view. Feelings may take a back seat to the rational mind. And, while there is an inherent respect for the rights of the individual, there is, as well, a strong attachment to the principle of social order. Therefore, while fairness and justice for all might be an ideal our country aspires to, as a practical matter, the idea of equality is measured against the good of society as a whole.

So, when the ownership of slaves was considered to be in the economic interest of the nation, the principal of individual freedom was outweighed by the greater benefits that slavery held for society as a whole. Likewise, the right of women to work outside the home had to be measured against the preservation of the family unit and the impact working moms would have on their children.

Eventually, business leaders realized that women, who were usually immigrants or single women, provided cheap labor for our increasingly industrialized society. This need was counterbalanced against the more idealistic desire to protect the family. Despite a brief respite, when women were needed to “man” the factories during World War II, the role of women in the United States was largely confined to that of wives and mothers.

Family Values

With the Sun, along with Venus, the planet of femininity; Mercury, the planet of communication; and Jupiter, the planet of luck and overall well being, all in the sign of Cancer, family and family values, patriotism, and tradition are highly valued in the U.S. With all of this emphasis in the sign of Cancer, is it any wonder we use the phrase “it’s as American as Mom and apple pie” to describe those things that are quintessentially American? And, as a further reflection of Cancer’s influence, the concept of “Mom” holds an exalted place in our society—a concept that must be protected. Yet, the fact that many Moms must join Dads in the workplace in order to make ends meet seems lost on the many men and women who oppose initiatives like the Equal Rights Amendment and the Equal Pay Act.

Equal Rights and Equal Pay

A woman’s right to equal pay is fundamentally a family issue, not a feminist one. The fact that women earned $.73 for every $1 earned by a man (in 2000) impacts, in the short run, the ability of American families to survive on a weekly basis and, in the long run, a woman’s retirement income in the years ahead.

Clearly, the framers of the Constitution did not consider women as equal to men. Women were not given the right to vote nor were they provided with any of the other inalienable rights afforded to men. In July 1848, 300 men and women met in Seneca Falls, New York, to take up the cause of justice and equality for women. Not coincidentally, most of these people were abolitionists who saw the cause of women’s rights as a natural outgrowth of that movement.

At the first Women’s Rights Convention, twelve resolutions were adopted, including the right of women to vote. Women’s suffrage was considered the one right that would secure the other rights women so desperately needed. At that time, the progressed Moon of the United States was in the sign Libra, which represents equality, balance, justice, and fairness. The progressed Moon in the sign Libra also makes a difficult and stressful aspect to the four planets in Cancer in the U.S. birth chart. Though few took their pronouncements seriously, the women and men who met in Seneca Falls were daring to challenge the very fabric of American society.

Seventy-two Years Later

It took seventy-two years for the 19th Amendment, granting women the right to vote, to be enacted on August 26, 1920. On that date, the progressed Moon of the U.S. was in Gemini, in conjunction with Uranus, the planet of freedom. The progressed Sun of the U.S. birth chart was in Sagittarius, in an opposition to Uranus, illustrating that the victory of women’s suffrage movement had a great deal of resistance. In fact, passage of the amendment hinged on the vote of a twenty-four-year-old legislator Harry Burn from Tennessee, who was urged to change his vote from no to yes by his mother.

In 1923, on the 75th anniversary of the Seneca Falls Women’s Rights Convention, Alice Paul first introduced the Equal Rights Amendment, which would constitutionally guarantee American women equal protection under the law. The U.S. progressed Moon had moved to the sign Cancer and was close to a conjunction with progressed Jupiter, the planet of law, philosophy, and justice. The transiting Sun and Mercury were also in Cancer, activating the significant progression. This amendment was introduced in Congress every year from 1923 until March 22, 1972, when the Alice Paul Equal Rights Amendment to the constitution was finally sent to the states for ratification. Interestingly enough, the push for women’s rights again closely followed the drive for civil rights, just as women’s suffrage grew out of the abolitionist movement.

In 1972, the U.S. progressed Moon was in Aries and the progressed Sun was in Capricorn, again challenging the natal U.S. Cancer placements, and activating the progressions that were in effect when Alice Paul first introduced her amendment. Though the amendment itself did not impose a time limit for ratification, Congress placed a seven-year limit on ratification by the needed thirty-eight states. In the first year, twenty-two of the needed thirty-eight states ratified the amendment. But the ratification process slowed, and by the deadline in 1979 only thirty-five states had ratified the amendment. More time was needed.

Congress granted a three-year extension on the deadline. Though organized labor was finally behind the concept of recognizing the rights of women as citizens, opposition from social conservatives was strong and, in the end, the amendment failed to gain ratification. Ardent supporters of women’s rights continue to introduce the amendment each year though many people fail to see the need for it any longer. After all, the Equal Pay Act and dozens of other laws are designed to protect women. And, women have made great strides in every sector of society. However, proponents of the ERA point out that laws may be repealed and that the only true protection of women’s rights lies in the U.S. Constitution.

In 2004, the progressed Moon of the U.S. is once again in Cancer, just as it was in 1923. Perhaps, Alice Paul’s vision will finally become a reality during the movement of the U.S. progressed Moon through Cancer from 2004–2006.

Women Have Come A Long Way

Women certainly have come a long way in the arena of politics. After the 2000 election, there were thirteen women in the Senate. And, more importantly, in 2002, there were no less than ten women running for governor in nine states. While this may not seem like a staggering number, contrast it with the fact that up until 2002, only twelve women had ever been elected governor in the history of the U.S., and only seven more had served, completing the unexpired terms of male governors who had resigned or died.

Many believe that this focus on the corner office in the fifty state houses is a concerted effort on the part of women to finally be ready for a presidential run. After all, executive experience seems a likely prerequisite for the Commander-in-Chief, and four of the last five presidents were all state governors before winning the presidency. While senators, like Hillary Clinton and Kay Bailey Hutchinson, are often mentioned when discussing female presidential hopefuls, the movement dedicated to electing a woman president clearly believes that the best candidate will likely come from one of the State Houses.

Job Qualifications

The ideal candidate will have strong managerial skills and be able to make tough decisions. She needs to show herself, not as a soft and conciliatory female, but as a hard-nosed leader, able to steer the nation through difficult times. And, the State House seems like a logical proving ground from which just this type of woman leader may emerge. So, this brings us to the million-dollar question: is the U.S. astrologically ready for a woman president?

To help answer that question, perhaps we should look at another chart—that of the presidency cast for the moment of the inauguration of our first president, George Washington, on April 30, 1789. We will call this chart POTUS (President of the United States). The Moon is in Cancer in that chart, too, and there is a preponderance of planets in feminine signs. The Moon is conjunct Jupiter, and echoes the Cancer stellium of the U.S. birth chart.

Woman Candidates: Past and Future

The first woman to run for president of the U.S. was Victoria Woodhull. She announced her candidacy in 1870, just as the POTUS progressed Moon touched the planet Venus, another symbol of women. In 1964, Republican Senator Margaret Chase Smith became the first woman to attempt to become the presidential nominee of a major political party. At that time, the POTUS progressed Moon was in Sagittarius, making a favorable aspect to Mars, the planet of competition and action, in the POTUS chart. In 1984, Geraldine Ferraro became the Democratic nominee for vice President, the first woman ever to run for that office on a major party ticket. The POTUS progressed Moon was making an aspect of opportunity with the POTUS natal Moon. But, it was also in a stressful aspect with the natal POTUS Saturn, planet of restrictions and limitations. Ferraro didn’t win but she still holds the distinction of being the only woman ever to be on the major party ticket for national office.

The outlook for 2004 suggests that the time may again be right for a woman to be on the ticket as a vice-presidential candidate for a major party. At that time, transiting Saturn conjoins the POTUS Moon, indicating responsibility and achievement; and, the progressed U.S. Moon is in Cancer, activating much of the U.S. natal chart during 2004. While it may not be in the immediate future, there is no doubt that the U.S. will eventually have a woman president—it is just a matter of time.