Women in Politics: The Low Levels of Lady Leaders

camel-photo

With an expansive media industry and the largest economy in the world, the United States of America is undoubtedly a powerful country. American freedoms and opportunities attract people from all over the world to immigrate in search of the American dream.

This dream may become a reality for some, but women may face more challenges than men in finding success in the U.S. America offers many freedoms for women, but many issues regarding the treatment of women still persist.

Would these issues be as prevalent today if women had more of a presence in U.S. political leadership?

Providing women with more representation in political leadership could better address issues important to women. Major changes would need to happen to counteract the dramatic underrepresentation of women the U.S. political system.

In 2015, women made up only 20% of the Senate and 19.3% of the House. Worse still, only 10% of U.S. governors were women in 2015. Women also made up only 24% of state legislators in 2015.

There has never been a female President or female Chief Justice, and the United States is one of the only developed countries in the world without paid family leave. Congress still has not passed the Paycheck Fairness Act and, in 2015, women earned 80 cents for every dollar a man earned.

But there is hope!

For the first time ever, a woman won the presidential nomination for a major political party in the U.S.

This female candidate:

  • vowed to make paid family leave a reality
  • wanted to ensure that women are paid the same amount as men

Passing this legislation would be immense for women. This unprecedented pledge of support for issues important to women by the first female candidate of a major political party in the U.S. illustrates that women in political leadership positions can bring a different set of priorities to light. We can look to the future and recognize that women offer a unique perspective in leadership positions.

Many countries around the globe look to the U.S. on a broad range of issues, and the lack of women in political leadership reinforces the global narrative that men are better leaders. Women are not only underrepresented in the American political system, but in many political systems around the world.

This underrepresentation is evident at all levels of government. As of August of this year, only 10 women served as heads of state, and nine served as heads of government. This is echoed by the number of female ministers and members of legislative bodies around the world.

As of June of this year, only 22.8% of national parliamentarians were women. Only two countries—Rwanda and Bolivia— had more than 50% women in their single or lower house of parliament as of June 2016, and only 17% of government ministers around the world were women.

This male preeminence in political leadership is prevalent in regions and economic zones around the world. An increased presence of women in political systems would have implications for individual state security, economic performance, and the social welfare of a state. The U.S. would set an important example to the global community by increasing the representation of women in government.  

Many individuals still categorize leadership qualities as masculine traits, yet strength, intelligence, and decisiveness are definitely not unique to men.

We must change the perception of leadership as a male responsibility to an expectation that female and male leadership should be equally represented in political systems. This can only be achieved if more women are put into political leadership positions. We must begin improving the mindset of the next generation.

Important issues for all citizens of the world go unanswered without female voices adequately represented in government. Hope remains that one day, the United States to one day have a female president. Someday—hopefully in the near future— a female U.S. president will dramatically reshape the lives for both American women and women around the world.

Half of the world’s population deserve a larger voice and a truer equality in government to become a reality. Without more women in political leadership positions in the U.S. and the world, this equality is not possible.

—by ANN

 

Works Cited:

[1] Brown, Anna, “The Data on Women Leaders,” Pew Research Center, January 14, 2015, http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2015/01/14/the-data-on-women-leaders/.

[2] Brown, Anna, “The Data on Women Leaders,” Pew Research Center, January 14, 2015, http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2015/01/14/the-data-on-women-leaders/.

[3] Brown, Anna, “The Data on Women Leaders,” Pew Research Center, January 14, 2015, http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2015/01/14/the-data-on-women-leaders/.

[4] “Pay Equity and Discrimination,” Institute for Women’s Policy Research, accessed on September 25, 2016, http://www.iwpr.org/initiatives/pay-equity-and-discrimination.

[5] “Facts and Figures: Leadership and Political Participation,” UN Women, last modified August 2016, http://www.unwomen.org/en/what-we-do/leadership-and-political-participation/facts-and-figures#notes.

[6] “Women in National Parliaments,” Inter-Parliamentary Union, last modified August 1, 2016, http://www.ipu.org/wmn-e/world.htm.

[7] “Facts and Figures: Leadership and Political Participation,” UN Women, last modified August 2016, http://www.unwomen.org/en/what-we-do/leadership-and-political-participation/facts-and-figures#notes.

[8] “Facts and Figures: Leadership and Political Participation,” UN Women, last modified August 2016, http://www.unwomen.org/en/what-we-do/leadership-and-political-participation/facts-and-figures#notes.

Advertisements

One thought on “Women in Politics: The Low Levels of Lady Leaders

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s