In the United States of America, women in general constitute a larger population of approximately 144 million as compared to men who constitute a population of 138 million as per the year 2002. Despite the fact that female population is slightly higher that that of males, women do not vote as a block for female candidates in public offices. As a matter of fact, women in America represent a smaller proportion in public offices as compared to men. On this basis, there are some factors that arise from gender movements, patriarchy and traditional gender norms; that hinder women in occupying positions in public offices (Hymowitz & Weissman, 1984).
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It can be argued that, gender stratification has accounted for low number of American women in public offices. In this case, women are viewed as the weaker sex who should not compete with men in most positions in public offices. On this basis, women are considered as not consistent in working because of the maternity leave phenomena; hence should not be positioned in public offices. Additionally, traditional gender norms do not allow women to take part in activities that are meant for men in society. In relation to this, despite the fact that most married women in America believe in equal sharing of household and monetary tasks; traditional gender roles are still embedded in practice and beliefs. This can be reflected in the division of labor in American families where women are supposed to carryout domestic non economic chores while men are entitled to other activities that are economic (Lerner, 1987).
According to studies, this devotion to traditional gender customs is specifically outstanding among white middle class families and hence they believe that positions in public offices are for males and not females. It has been revealed that, women after giving birth to the first child; sacrifice most of their time performing domestic work and care giving than working outside the home. On this basis, men in America perform mostly the paid work while women perform mostly the unpaid work hence they do not take up public offices in large numbers. It should be noted that, despite the fact that most American women want men to take up equal tasks of child care; factors like societal notion stating that family work is women’s work, hinder them (Hymowitz & Weissman, 1984).
In addition, the theory of patriarchy explains very well why women do not vote as a block or take up public offices in America. In this case, the theory of patriarchy generally denotes control by men. On this basis, despite the fact that women are as capable as men to be public offices holders; they have been controlled by men in all days long. In this relation, women consider men as been superior than they are and hence should be left to take superior posts in society. It is of importance to note that, America is a Christian country that follows Christian teachings. According to Christianity, women should be submissive to men and hence they should not compete with men in taking up public offices. Additionally, patriarchy does not allow women to rule or control men; which explain why women do not vote for their fellow women in taking up public offices (Lerner, 1987).
It should be noted that, gender movements have been lobbing for equality in terms of power and women rights. In this case, despite the traditional gender norms and patriarchy phenomena; women should take up public offices in America.
Hymowitz, C. & Weissman, M. (1984). A History of Women in America. New York: Bantam Publishers.
Lerner, G. (1987). The Creation of Patriarch (Women and History). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
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