SOC 315: Cross Cultural Perspectives Women in Politics: US vs. the “MAN” May 16, 2010 Instructor Allan Mooney Do you use your power to vote? Have you ever thought the right to vote was not always a right for women? There has been a major trend change in the world of politics and this change is spelled W-O-M-A-N. Women have become a force to be reckoned with in the world of politics. Over the past decade, women have resolved into leadership positions, encouraging the same sex to voice their opinions in voting booths, political debates, and society.
Not only in America, but nationwide. Women comprise over 35 percent of the lower house in Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Demark; 15 percent or less are seen in parliaments within ten countries (Karp & Banducci, 2008). Over the years, women had to protest and fight for this right so that young women today can vote and have a say so in who represents the people of our city, state, and country. A woman’s influence in politics has yet to be recognized as a true political voice of women that actually yields power.
Perceptions of women and politics from the media, society, men, and even women themselves have shaped women’s ability everywhere to participate politically and socially within our society. The United States, as well as many other countries, has various beliefs regarding the role of women in the political arena. The United States has shown how the political role of a woman has evolved, over time, into a more powerful one. On the other hand, a woman seeking a powerful position, such as a political platform, is looked down upon in most countries.
Some political systems are regimes marked by one-party rule and are incomplete in their political development. The place of women in society is still secondary and it will take time before the U. S. and other countries alike achieve complete equality. The Suffrage Movement, the movement towards women’s rights, started geographically in the northeast of the United States. The women there organized the first women’s rights convention at Seneca Falls, New York, in 1848.
The movement began dividing after the disappointment of the 14th and 15th amendments, which provided African American men with the right to vote One of the women’s suffrage groups was the National Women’s Suffrage Association (NWSA) led by Elizabeth Candy Staton and Susan B. Anthony, opposing the 15th amendment. This organization focused on federal action for feminist reforms. But there was another organization that was for the 15th amendment. The American Women’s Suffrage Association or AWSA was being run by Lucy Stone and others.
The AWSA looked more to the grassroots for support while still supporting the 15th amendment. Both of the groups argued that all tax payers had the right to vote regardless of race, creed, or gender. In 1890 the NWSA and the AWSA finally came together and decided on a common goal, to give the right to vote to women. After long protesting, debating, and communicating with the government, still no new state would give women the right to vote until 1910.
Then in 1920 the 19th amendment was added to the United States Constitution, which gives all American women the right to vote. The Women’s Rights movement began dividing after the disappointment of the 14th and 15th amendments, which provided African American men with the right to vote, but women still could not. The survey reveals deep divisions over women’s roles in society, splits that may play out in the November elections. For example, 33% of Americans say “Most men are better suited emotionally for politics than most women. But 44% of evangelical Protestants agree, more than other Christians and markedly higher than Jews (29%), other religions (23%), and those with no religion (14%). Baylor’s data were gathered in 2007, when Sen. Hillary Clinton was seeking the Democratic nomination, but long before Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was named to the Republican vice presidential ticket, putting motherhood and gender in the spotlight. Palin is a mother of five, including an infant with Down syndrome. Both Republican candidates are evangelical Protestants (John McCain is Baptist and Palin non-denominational).
Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama is a mainline Protestant (United Church of Christ), whose running mate, Sen. Joe Biden, is Roman Catholic. The survey also finds: •41% say a preschooler suffers if the mother works (54% of evangelicals say so, nearly double for other groups). •31% say “it’s God’s will that women care for children” (48% for evangelicals). Will these views shape votes? “People may hold these social values, but they don’t always translate at the polls,” says Lauren Winner, assistant professor of Christian spirituality at Duke University. While a conservative view of gender roles is a piece of an evangelical worldview, it’s not the most important plank for people — abortion is. “People can spin Palin’s contravention of traditional roles — a nursing mother possibly in the White House — by latching on to her clear pro-life stance. ” PERCENTAGES OF AMERICANS WHO BELIEVE: Most men are better suited emotionally to politics than most women. Because of their right to vote, women could now dream about being involved in politics.
A total of twenty-two women have held cabinet or cabinet-level appointments in the history of our nation. Of all the men who have served as president, only seven have appointed women to their cabinets. The first appointed to a presidential cabinet was Frances Perkins. She was selected in 1933 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to head the Department of Labor. In 1997 Aida Ulverez became the first ever Hispanic women to be elected to a cabinet, and Madeleine Albright was the first women to be appointed Secretary of State.
These and many other women continue to make a stand for women everywhere. More than every before, the world demands a woman’s voice, especially concerning social issues. While women tend to campaign on social issues, they have hands-on experience on such topics: abortion, education, and insurance. Studies show that the presence of a women as a candidate or in office stimulate other women to engage in politics (Karp & Banducci, 2008). The issue is the common stereotypical insight of what one sees in a woman as only a homemaker.
Many cultures questions their ability to run a city, state, or even a country. There are also the rejection of culture differences. For example, Muslims swear women are deeply honored in their societies, but their place is only in the home (Roskin, 2009). References: Roskin, M. G. (2009). Countries and concepts: politics, geography, culture. Pearson Education, Inc. Karp, J. A. and Banchcci, S. A. (2008). When politics is not just a man’s game: women’s representation and political engagement. Sciencedirect.