Fewer women on new Chicago City Council

May 9, 2011

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(WBEZ/file)
Ald. Freddrenna Lyle lost her 6th Ward seat in the April runoffs. Roderick Sawyer replaces her on the council.

The Chicago City Council will soon have fewer women. Fifteen female aldermen will be sworn in a week from now, down from 19 in the recent council.

Leslie Hairston, alderman of Chicago's 5th Ward, said she doesn't think gender played a role in the recent elections. But Hairston is clearly bothered there will be fewer women on the council.

"Not happy about that. Not happy about that," she had said recently at City Hall.

It's a matter of perspective, Hairston said, in a field - politics - where there are still fewer women then men.

"When the numbers are shrinking rather than increasing, I think that kind of changes the balance of power. But I think the group of women that we have now are strong enough to make some in-roads."

Meantime, the racial makeup of the council stays roughly the same. An exception to that is the 47th Ward, where Eugene Schulter cedes his council seat to Ameya Pawar, who becomes Chicago's first Asian American alderman.