President Obama seems set to nominate the first African-American female attorney general. If he pulls the trigger, it will be another first for women and a good stride forward. Despite her Ivy League credentials, Loretta Lynch, 55, is said to be a "regular person" with a good shot at being confirmed.

And, did you hear? Sixty-seven-year-old Hillary Clinton is set to announce her candidacy for president — again. There's a feeling that if Clinton wins, we will finally shatter the glass ceiling.

But if Clinton and Lynch make it to the elected upper-echelons of political discourse, the accomplishments of these high-profile female trailblazers won't amount to a hill of beans when it comes to getting women out of the boardroom — or kitchen — to run for office.


Everyone in the media loves to point the finger when trying to figure out the answer to why, after 94 years of voting, females make up only a fifth of Congress. In 2015, there will be more than 100 of them for the first time. New York magazine's Ann Friedman blamed lack of females elected in the midterms on women who don't vote. So did Andrea Grimes, senior reporter for RH Reality Check, a website about sexual and reproductive health and justice. Her piece, "White Women: Let's Get Our S--- Together," blamed married white women for failing Senate candidate Wendy Davis (D-Texas) at the polls. Others say that women don't have as good of an infrastructure for fundraising as men.

But the real reason women haven't made strides in Congress may be one that no one wants to say out loud: young kids.

Let's say I didn't live in Washington, D.C., and that I lived in a state where I could elect a member of Congress who actually has voting rights. (That's another story for another day.) Would I, a mother of three under 14, whose husband travels, want to commute from my hometown to the U.S. Capitol every week? On top of that, would I want to spend most of my weekends fundraising and listening to my constituents?


Hell, no.

And I’m not alone.

The Constitution says a woman (or man) has to be 30 to serve. Sens. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Gillibrand2024 GOP White House hopefuls lead opposition to Biden Cabinet Manhattan law firm named as lead in Cuomo impeachment investigation Senate Democrats call on DHS for details on response to Portland protests MORE (D-N.Y.), 47,  and Kelly AyotteKelly Ann AyotteOvernight Defense: NATO expanding troops in Iraq Overnight Defense: New START extended for five years | Austin orders 'stand down' to tackle extremism | Panel recommends Biden delay Afghanistan withdrawal Study group recommends Biden delay Afghanistan withdrawal MORE (R-N.H.), 46, are the only current female senators in their 40s. Both have young children. Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharHillicon Valley: Biden nominates former NSA deputy director to serve as cyber czar | Apple to send witness to Senate hearing after all | Biden pressed on semiconductor production amid shortage Apple to send witness to Senate hearing after pushback from Klobuchar, Lee Lobbying world MORE (D-Minn.) clocks in next, at 54.

As one of only 20 women currently serving in the Senate, Gillibrand has spoken out about the trials of being a mommy senator in her memoir, Off the Sidelines, while encouraging younger women to get involved in the political process. She, it seems, is an outlier who has figured out how to make "having it all" in politics work for her family.

The older the female pol or wannabe, the easier it is to juggle an 80-hour-plus workweek with the demands of family. Empty nesters and childless women simply have more time to devote to work. Neither Supreme Court Justices Elena KaganElena KaganSupreme Court says California must allow in-home prayer meetings Progressive group ramps up pressure on Justice Breyer to retire Supreme Court sides with Google in copyright fight against Oracle MORE nor Sonia SotomayorSonia SotomayorSupreme Court says California must allow in-home prayer meetings Progressive group ramps up pressure on Justice Breyer to retire Supreme Court sides with Google in copyright fight against Oracle MORE have children. When Hillary Clinton was secretary of State, her daughter Chelsea was an adult.

We can't believe anymore that women aren't in office because people don't want to vote for a woman. Kathleen Dolan, a political scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, told The New York Times that "There's almost no evidence at all that people put candidates' sex first and foremost in their decision making."

Yet, while that may be true, a slide show jammed my Twitter feed yesterday depicting the "15 Hottest Women in Politics" worldwide. It included Michele Obama and Mara Carfagna, a former topless dancer who is now Italy's minister of equal opportunity.

In 2009, the U.S. ranked 85th among nations with female politicians. We were 57th among democratic countries. The top five? Rwanda, Sweden, South Africa, Cuba and Iceland. That's right, communist Cuba trumped the U.S. in gender equality.

Is this stuff harder in the U.S. than elsewhere? Do we make big-time politics too demanding? Something tells me the American workweek is much more onerous than those experienced by citizen politicians elsewhere. We are also more likely to move away from extended family who can help ease some of the childcare burden.

There has to be a more time-effective way of running the country that allows for both men and women to spend more time with families. The approval rating for those trying it now is a whopping 14 percent.

Like so many others who write about the glass ceiling, I wish I had better answers.

Ashburn is an award-winning Washington-based reporter and TV analyst covering media and politics.