Did you almost skip over this article? I get it. Politics doesn’t really interest you. That subject just isn’t your thing. Ever wonder why that is?
Whom do you think has more power in the United States: men or women? If you said women, sorry, but the answer is men. I know what you’re thinking. We women are just as strong, athletic, smart, funny and (insert your own adjective) as men are, and we have gained equality thanks to the Women’s Rights movement; but if power means the opportunity to have control in our society, then women take second place.
Consider the United States Congress. Out of 535 seats, women fill just 100 of them. Do you think that’s a pretty impressive number? If you do, then answer this question: Compared to other countries, where do you think the US ranks in women’s equality in government? If you guessed we’re in the top ten, guess again. We’re not even in the top 50! We’re in 85th place! That stinks! The United States currently has only five female governors, and about half of our 50 states have never EVER elected a women governor! In every country in the world there are fewer female lawmakers, except for Andorra and Rwanda, where men and women are equally represented in government.
Why don’t women and men share power equally? Due to sexist ideas that go back centuries, women were long denied the opportunity to become doctors, firefighters, police officers, politicians, attorneys, and many other kinds of professionals. Women were seen as less capable then men when it came to doing jobs that were powerful, influential, dangerous or simply important. Think about this: For most of our country’s history, women have not been allowed to vote! Women were not granted the right to vote until 1920! We have come very far in a very short time, but because of this long history of discrimination, it should come as no surprise that we have few female political role models.
What do you think happens when a young girl looks at the world and sees very few women with a strong presence in our political system? Researchers asked a group of seven-year-old children if they would like to be president when they grow up, and an equal number of boys and girls said yes. When they asked the same children again at age 15, the number of girls who said yes went waaaaay down. The fact that we, girls, often have more interest in fashion and makeup than we do in politics might have something to do with the fact that we have more celebrity role models than presidential ones.
Let’s talk about the female politicians we do see. The media has torn them to shreds. Take Hillary Clinton, for example. The media wants us to see her as a controlling man-hater, and is always mocking her looks and clothes. Or how about Sarah Palin? She received more attention for her outfits and rumored breast implants than she did for her policies. It does not matter which party a woman identifies with. No woman of either party should be treated this way. We should not be talking about haircuts when our country’s future is at stake.
So, why am I ranting about all of this? I’m not trying to upset you. I simply want to get you fired up enough to make a change! Learn about the female politicians that are working in our government today, and make THEM your role models, even if the media isn’t talking about them. Then see if you’d like to step into their shoes and inspire a new generation of brilliant girls like you to make a difference for all of us!