Angela M. Cranon, M.A.
Why aren’t there more women politicians in America? When the word politics is normally brought up in a conversation usually the talk is about Republicans and Democrats, or today, of course, President Donald Trump. The talk of gender political gap is rarely discussed, which should be, considering the fact that, there are more women than ever serving as Senators and House of Representatives, and America has a 51 percent population of women, yet, men still dominate election wins.
According to Centers for American Women and Politics in its Rutgers publication, “In 2017, 105 (78D, 27R) women hold seats in the United States Congress, comprising 19.6% of the 535 members; 21 women (21%) serve in the United States Senate, and 84 women (19.3%) serve in the United States House of Representatives. Five women delegates (3D, 2R) also represent American Samoa, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands in the United States House of Representatives”.
This boils down to approximately 38 women serving in Congress in 2017. Of that number there are 18 African-Americans, 10 Latinas, nine Asians, including American/Pacific Island, and one multiracial.
And even though California leads the way of electing women into the House and the Senate than any other state at 41, followed by New York at 28, Mississippi and Vermont voters have never put a female into Congress.
According to the Business Journal on politics, women are more likely to bring transparency to government, and new issues and perspectives to policy agency, and yet, either American voters do not vote for women or women are just not interested in running for Congressional seats. To top it off, Hillary Clinton, one of America’s most popular females in the country, could not capture the win for president in 2017, a move that many foreign countries have already made.
A World Economic Forum study of 2014 and 2016 reveals that today there are 15 female world leaders, a number that has doubled since 2000, and yet they still represent less than 10 percent of 193 United Nation member states.
In the United States and in Mexico there has never been a woman to serve as Chief Executive, and Canada broke its record by putting into office a female prime minister, but she served just four months.
When the statistics are examined, it almost doesn’t make sense, considering the fact that since 1980, women have outvoted men by at least four percent in presidential elections in America. In 2000, the gender-gap-voter-turnout averaged 16 percentage points, indicating a wider voting gap than previous years between women and men, with women being the dominate voter, and yet, America has never put a female in the presidential seat. Overall, in other elections, women outnumber men at the voting polls as well.
So why aren’t there more women politicians, especially since statistics show that there are more women voters than men? There are a few reasons, in theory, that will surely rub some the wrong way. One speculation is that women vote for men instead of their own gender because they do not trust women. Women are still leery of a woman running the country, and even taking on powerful government positions. Second, men do not trust women to lead such a powerful country either, so some men will never vote for a woman to serve in politics.
Third, women do not like to be ruled or told what to do by another woman. Ideological views that the head of the house is run by a male, also applies to the head of the White House. The idea of a male should be in charge still carries weight with some women, especially in powerful leadership positions. A government job is seen as one that is not only powerful, but psychologically intense and dominate.
Fourth, the stereotype or medical findings that women are more emotional than men, also plays a role to determine if a woman should be a politician, and especially serve as a president of the United States, even though women in other countries have lead successfully. Is this really a stereotype or a fact? This one will surely set someone on fire and disagree. While some may
believe this theory, others contend that the same sensitivity of a woman is what’s lacking in politics to solve some of the major issues in Washington, D.C. today, including world peace, domestic violence, child abuse, poverty, and so forth.
Finally, fifth, the stress of the job intellectually would be too tasking on a woman, mainly because duties as a mother and wife usually continue, therefore giving a woman much more to focus on than just the country, that might interfere with the “job”.
These speculations also lead to another factor about the gender gap in politics. Although there are some successful women politicians, there are fewer women of color serving in these careers as well. This means anyone who is not White American. The obvious reason women of color do not dominate this field are some of the same reasons why men of color do not. There are fewer supporters of people of color in such powerful positions, and some voters believe that people of various ethnic groups lack the educational background and experience to earn such authoritative political positions.
However, one political theory that might change the face of government and close the gender gap is to lure more people to the polls, especially and particularly, people of color. For example, President Obama had the highest number of minority votes in the history of a presidential election, which was 68 percent, and he became the first Black president of a country that is more than 200 years old.
This very controversial issue, especially the theories explaining why there is still a gender gap in politics in America has driven some to anger, disappointment, or awareness. Nonetheless, this is the profile of America and a change is yet to be seen to close this gender gap. Before judging, take a factual look at the number of women in office; there has to be a firm reason why, in this century, the gender gap from the outside to get into the White House is still too wide.