Women empowerment is a significant field that involves various aspects, including the presence and influence of women in the government. This specific sector has a rich history that started more than a century ago and is full of events, critical for those who fight for women’s rights and recognition in all of the industries and parts of society. According to Holman (2017), there is an underrepresentation of women in politics, and most of the elected and appointed positions held by women in the US are at the local levels. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the women’s representation in the government, looking at the history, the challenges that they face, and their victories, and observe the statistics and possible future applications.
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First, it is crucial to take a look at the background of women in politics and observe the development of women’s positions within the government. From the colonial period, women with or without the right to vote were actively involved in political issues (Baker, 2016). Thus, women were showing concern in the ongoing processes and were ready to fight for their interests and communities’ rights. The first woman, who did not have a legal right to vote and became the candidate for president at the end of the 19th century, was Victoria Woodhull in the Equal Rights Party (Baker, 2016). The lady became the first figure in US history to come to the stage and defend equal rights with such an amount of publicity.
The next significant event in history was when women gained their right to vote. After World War I, President Woodrow Wilson supported the Amendment, and after that, women, as voters, were ready to push forward their interests, which first resulted in the Sheppard-Towner Act (Baker, 2016). Still, gender discrimination was present in the political scene, and the most unfailing road to the elected office for women was through their elected husbands. The changes came in the second half of the 20th century. Shirley Chisholm became the first African-American woman elected to Congress in 1968, and Carol Moseley Braun was elected to the Senate in 1992 (Baker, 2016). The figures mentioned in this paragraph represent the first women who were publicly recognized as members of politics, and whose names play a significant role in the background for women in government.
Throughout history, when women started to show their voice and fight for their rights, they have faced numerous challenges. One of the most prevalent practices is that women are judged by their appearance more than by their ideas and suggestions (“Women’s participation in exercise,” 2019). Thus, the judgment standards for women in politics are higher than those for men, and they have to put more effort into proving their expertise and credibility. It is critical to change the situation because “greater representation of women in parliament ensures reform of discriminatory laws” (“Women’s participation in exercise,” 2019, par. 4). Besides, women have a crucial role and positive influence in conflict resolution and peacebuilding because the likelihood of agreement is higher with their participation (“Women’s participation in exercise,” 2019). Consequently, it is essential to continue the work on empowering women and their representation within the higher levels and more diverse fields of the government.
Another common challenge for women in politics is online political violence against female representatives. Across the Internet, the language about women in politics is often dehumanizing, which has a substantial impact not only in diminishing their role in the political process, but also has psychological harm (Krull, 2019). The way society perceived women can be influenced significantly through media, and the prevalence of violent words and judgments against them is a severe challenge. One of the ways to change the situation is to conduct a careful assessment of media and the language used there to describe female politicians, ensure which statements are fair and which should be prohibited (Krull, 2019). Therefore, it is possible to overcome this challenge gradually, but it requires substantial efforts and resources, which creates additional burdens for women in government.
At this point, it is interesting to observe the statistics that represent the presence of women at different governmental offices. In the cities with a population of over 30,000 people, women make up about 20% of the mayors, while in the 100 largest American cities, they make up 19% (Holman, 2017). In terms of the appointed positions, the presence of women as city managers is around 13% and is smaller in public services, where they face high barriers for appointment to the office (Holman, 2017). It is possible to say that besides the different levels of women’s presence in governmental positions, many branches experience an underrepresentation. The number of women in the US Congress is rising, but the other regulatory industries, such as national security, still have a low number of females in power (Krull, 2019). For instance, in the year 2019, women occupied 126 out of 535 seats in Congress (“Women in government,” 2019). Thus, one can see that women are underrepresented in many positions within the government.
Another crucial point that concerns women’s representation in government is their attitudes towards unethical behaviors and corruption. The studies have revealed that countries that have more women holding political positions have lower corruption levels (DiRienzo, 2019). However, other factors, like culture, have a significant influence on the levels of corruption, and the combination of specific cultural features and increased women’s representation in government can lead to diminished corruption practices (Ionescu, 2018). This finding one more time highlights the importance of females’ presence in governmental positions and the influence that they can make at different levels of society.
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It is essential to look at women’s success in politics and the victories concerning their representation in the government. For example, in 2019, six women announced their candidacy for president, which is the first time when more than two women are running for this position simultaneously (“Milestones for women in American Politics,” 2019). Another victory happened in Nevada that became the first state where women have a higher percentage of state legislative seats than men (“Milestones for women in American Politics,” 2019). Those two successes represent the progress and the results of the continuous struggle of women to be recognized as equal political figures. There are numerous names connected to great achievements in the political field, including Hillary Rodham Clinton, who became the Democratic party’s major presidential nominee in 2016 (“Milestones for women in American Politics,” 2019). It is possible to say that women keep showing their voices, which gradually expands their presence and influence on the political arena.
In conclusion, the representation of women in government plays a significant role in the life of society and numerous related aspects. Throughout history, women were fighting for equal rights and recognition, and gaining voting rights became the breakthrough moment. Today, due to various challenges, biases, and preconceptions, women are underrepresented within political positions. Still, the changes are happening, and with the community’s support and the diminishment of political violence, the number and influence of women in government will grow.
Baker, P. (2016). The history of women in politics. Web.
DiRienzo, C. E. (2019). Culture, corruption, and women in government. International Journal of Cross-Cultural Management, 19(3), 315-332.
Holman, M. R. (2017). Women in local government: What we know and where we go from here. State and Local Government Review, 49(4), 285-296.
Ionescu, L. (2018). Gender inequality in political democracy: Electoral accountability, women’s representation in government, and perceived corruption. Journal of Research in Gender Studies, 8(1), 165-171.
Krull, H. (2019). Women in politics: Challenges and opportunities. Web.
Milestones for women in American politics. (2019). Web.
Women in government: Quick take. (2019). Web.