A new report is claiming that the lack of women in political positions is not due to a gender bias, but to a "lack of ambition" within females... that we are, in fact, creating our own glass ceiling.
Yeah, I know. My jaw dropped when I read that too.
"Somewhat surprisingly," write political scientists Jennifer Lawless of Brown University and Richard Fox of Loyola Marymount, women's underrepresentation "is not because of discrimination against women candidates. In fact, women perform as well as men when they do run for office. In terms of fundraising and vote totals, the consensus among researchers is the complete absence of overt gender bias."
Okay, I need to make a couple points here. First of all, the "absence of overt gender bias" is bullshit. There may be some sort of "lack of ambition" in women to pursue political careers, but you cannot attribute the predominantly male political world to solely that. An "overt gender bias" does exist. Let's ponder for a moment the numerous people who decided to attend Hillary Clinton's events just to yell out "make me a sandwich" while she was talking. Let's talk about the plethora of people that fail to take her seriously, or the news stations that decide to talk not about what she stands for, but about what she wears or how "shrill" her voice is.
With all that sexist bullshit that women have to deal with in the political world, no wonder there's a lack of ambition... which brings me to my second point. Let's look at the cause of this lack of ambition. Why are women less likely to pursue a political career than men? Maybe because of the aforementioned poor treatment that they may receive, or the fact that many men are conditioned from the womb to be successful suit-wearing politicians, while many women are given plastic irons and cooking sets from Toys R' Us at the age of five.
What this "study" failed to examine is the causality of this "lack of ambition." Saying things like "women are less likely than men to be willing to endure the rigors of a political campaign" implies that women don't have the guts or the motivation to run for office. And yes, maybe some don't, but claiming that this is the sole reason for the lack of women in political positions downplays a very real gender bias and tries to make a complicated situation into a simple one. No ambition? No job.
The only part of the study that even touches on causality is described in an article in The Washington Post:
The women in the survey were far less likely to be married or have children than the men were, and those who did had their hands full: 60 percent of the women, compared with 4 percent of the men, said they were responsible for the majority of child care.
There's another reason. I'm not trying to say that all women are being kept down by misogynistic asshole politicians who are ruining our country, but for God's sake, let's look at the bigger picture here.
Thursday, May 29, 2008