The demand for female representatives in politics needs to be fulfilled

Now more than ever, women need to be represented in politics to change views on women and ensure a better future for later generations

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The demand for female representatives in politics needs to be fulfilled

Abby White, JAG reporter/photographer

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When looking at clubs, organizations and student body within our school, you may see many female role models but when looking within the government, there are very few examples of woman dominance. There is a lack  of women in government due to society’s prejudice that government and politics are masculine positions of power. We need female leaders in government and an overall re-evaluation of women’s role within it.

According to the Center for American Women and Politics or the CAWP, women make up around 19 percent of all members of Congress and less than 25 percent of all state legislators. They also only make up 12 percent of the nation’s 50 governors. Women now make up a bigger share of national and state lawmakers than ever, and yet the share of women in major political positions remains disproportionately low. The small number of women representatives can be linked to unjust perceptions that women aren’t perceived to be capable of holding a government office.

A prime example of America’s prejudice is the 2016 election where Hillary Clinton was the first woman to gain majority party backing for presidential office. Clinton was arguably the better candidate; she out-debated now-president Donald Trump and had more experience in politics due to her experience as first lady, senator of New York and secretary of state, but the idea that she was a woman baffled voters, because some may believe that is not where a woman should be. A very relevant example comes from letters by the voters, one voter, Carl Unger saying “They call us sexist just because we are critical of Hillary Clinton and her health. What if that time of the month comes and she is sick at the same time?” and even Donald Trump who said sexist things on twitter such as, “If Hillary can’t satisfy her husband what makes her think she can satisfy America?” This is a common theme surrounding women in high government positions, for example, a 2016 PRRI/Atlantic poll found that 40% of respondents believe that America would be better off if women would “stick to the jobs and tasks they are naturally suited for,” and that number is even higher among Trump supporters.

With Clinton’s loss, many dreams were crushed. Her loss did not shift personal attitudes toward female leaders, it increased the belief that the deck was stacked in favor of men. Numerous factors play a role in this concept, such as the low numbers of women in roles of political power and the social climate we have made for women that restrict them for believing they can compete with men. A new study conducted by American University School explains seven reasons there is a gender gap in office elections: women are substantially more likely than men to perceive the electoral environment as highly competitive and biased against female candidates, Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin’s candidacies aggravated women’s perceptions of gender bias in the electoral arena, such as the ideas that women are much less likely than men to think they are qualified to run for office, female potential candidates are less competitive, less confident and more risk-averse than their male counterparts, women react more negatively than men to many aspects of modern campaigns, and women are still responsible for the majority of childcare and household tasks. This shows how female representation is difficult to accomplish due to overwhelming factors that negatively work against them. America needs to shift from these misogynistic views and start seeing women in politics.

An influx of women in politics will not only help the present generation but many more after. If we change the ideals of American society by increasing the number of women in powerful positions, we will slowly see a change in the minds of citizens. It will reconfigure the thought that men should be the majority and instead institute the idea that government is a place where everyone should be represented equally.

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