Women and Politics
Published 26 Jun 2017
Throughout history, women have been disenfranchised and neglected in the men dominated political leadership in all societies in the world. The American society in not exceptional due to the fact that very few women have ever served in important political positions in the country. The legal and social systems have historically given men more economic, social and political opportunity while the most important social and cultural role of women in the society remains wifehood and motherhood. However, there have been several changes throughout the 20th century where an increasing number of women have raised in their social status. Over the last few decades, women in the United States have excelled in the academia, the corporate world, sports and other aspects of the society. Women sit in the Supreme Court, the highest court in the United States and hold important government offices in the country. However, why women are still underrepresented in the political life or even why we are yet to have a woman president is still a mystery (Karlson, pg 1).
Majority of reasons why women are underrepresented in the political and social life in the society are historical. Since the ancient times, women were considered intellectually inferior and a source of evil. Their main role was to bear children and take care of their husbands and had no position in the social life. It is interesting to note that the women throughout the world accepted this position in the society. Moreover, the early Christian ideologies, from which most of the American social ideologies are derived from, have perpetuated these ideas. Women have been considered the weaker sex and have only been assigned domestic chores in the society. It is also clear that formal education in girls has over the years been considered to be secondary. However, this has changed since the end of the Second World War where the American women have proved their worth in the education systems and consequently in the corporate and social life (Karlson, p 1).
Another important issue that has limited the participation of women in the social and political life in America has been their legal position. The status of a woman in the American systems has deepened the misconception that women are inferior compared to men. The common law does not give a woman any legal recognition and is not allowed to own property. Historically, the American law has rendered the woman defenseless in the management of family and social affairs. For many years, women in the United States had no voting rights which denied them the opportunity to try their hand in politics. It was not until the early 20th century when women in the United States were given the right to vote. Despite this, their political roles in the country have remained limited (Karlson, p 1).
Another important factor that has limited the involvement of women in the American politics is the hurdle in raising funds. Women can make politicians, who are as good as men politicians or even better, but political campaigns require substantial amount of funds which majority of women are unable to raise on their own. Even if they have an opportunity, they always hesitate to announce their intentions. However, some women are powerful enough to overcome the funding hurdles that limit women involvement in politics but the prejudice and misconception about their abilities is a major obstacle to their success in politics (Compton’s NewMedia, p 1).
- Compton’s NewMedia. Women’s History in America, 1995
- Karlson, Katherine. Women in Politics, 2002.