SHESPEAKS Your Power to Influence

Is Your District "Women-Friendly??

Is Your District

 

Have you ever wondered why, after all the barriers women have crossed in so many areas, the gender gap in politics remains wide open? Then you may want to take a look at a recently published study, “Breaking the Political Glass Ceiling”, that attempts to explain just that.

Political scientists, Barbara Palmer and Dennis Simon, conducted a study of all congressional elections between 1956 and 2004. Just looking at the numbers can be shocking. At the start of the new millennium Palmer and Simon report that only twenty-five percent of elected state legislators were women, five state governors (out of 50) were women, and a mere fourteen percent of the members of congress were women.

So why do women have such a hard time getting elected? Palmer and Simon found that certain U.S. districts were more “women-friendly” than others. More rural, Southern and traditional districts are the least likely to vote for women while the more urban and diverse Congressional districts are a lot more likely to elect a woman to office.

The ten best and worst districts where women win as reported in the study are as follows:

The Best The Worst
New York City
San Francisco
Los Angeles
Denver
Portland, Ore.
Seattle .
Chicago
D.C. suburbs
Cleveland
Miami
Gadsen, Ala
Paducah, Ky
Bowling Green, Ky
Asheville, N.C.
Boone, N.C.
Norman, Okla
Fayetteville, Ark.
Covington, Ky.
Somerset, Ky
Ponca City, Okla.


Another informative addition to Palmer and Simon’s study is the inclusion of quotes and stories women in congress have given over the years that attempt to explain why it is harder for women to get elected.

Florence Dwyer, the second women to ever be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, is quoted in the study as saying, “A Congresswoman must look like a girl, act like a lady, think like a man, speak on any given subject with authority and most of all work like a dog.”

What do you think of this new study on the topic of women in office?

Do you think we as voters can make a difference and speed things along for women in politics?

Make a Comment

Comment  *
 
 
  • zoethegreat By zoethegreat
    07.31.07  

    I wonder how this bodes for Hillary Clinton in this upcoming election. I think she is counting on women being her core base. Will it be enough?

  • didama By didama
    07.31.07  

    In my opinion, Hillary is going to have a hard time. I agree that women are supposed to be her core support base but, many women are ambivalent about Hillary and I don't think its a "slam dunk" that she'll get our support as a broad base. I think she needs to "humanize" herself a bit more in order to get women to feel affinity towards her. She's looking a bit too androgynous at this point! I know its a fine line but, it would behoove the Hillary campaign to figure out how to make her more feminine without losing her male voters. I'm sure its a fine line.

  • DJjazzy By DJjazzy
    08.02.07  

    The 'worst' cities are from four states. They are small towns or towns with a very myopic view of the world. The 'best' cities are large cities in nine different states that have embraced diversity because the population has become more diverse on many levels. It's only a matter of time before the 'worst' come around.

  • amerksfan1 By amerksfan1
    08.06.07  

    I would vote for any womanhowever, I live in NY and Hillary hasn't done anything for me. She won't get my vote! Should women run? yes, I think we think on different lines than men, wish more would be in the running.

  • bettyboo163 By bettyboo163
    09.14.07  

    I believe and have alway said (That what we need in groverment is a woman but not like Hillary. But one that has raised a family the hard way. By making ends meet. Work to help support a family. Stop to think about it. Most of us women have been nurses,teachers,buyer,builder,accountants,peace makers. All in raising our families. Thank about it. We don.t nee a rich woman or man in any office but one that has had to handle from day to day to ssurvice.

  • penguins28 By penguins28
    11.22.07  

    I don't vote on if a canidate is a women or man, I vote for who is best for the job! In a perfect world man and women would be equals and everyone would vote this way but I know its not a perfect world! I am not surprised by the report of the worst citys, I live very close to Covington, Ky and some of my family live in Somerset, Ky and they really are "Ages" away from closing the gap with men & women in politics! I really wonder if these small towns will ever change with that?

More stories like this