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Women have made incredible progress during the last century, but we still have a long way to go. Much further, in fact, than some of us may realize.

Several studies have been released over the last decade discussing the percentage of women serving in government worldwide. You might be surprised to discover just how low the United States ranks on these lists.

The United States currently ranks 69th in the percentage of women serving in government at all levels.

The U.S. ranks #69 among countries with the highest percentage of women in government. Countries that have a higher percentage of women include countries such as Tajikistan, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Uganda.
Yes, you read that correctly, Afghanistan has a higher percentage of women in government than the US does.

More below the fold.

The United States ranks 80th in the percentage of women serving in government at the congressional (parliamentary) level. However, if you exclude all the nations who rank as "tied", we actually rank much lower than that.

And which nations rank above the US? Eritrea, Sudan, and even Iraq, are on the list.

Rwanda tops the list, with women making up 49% of Parliament in Rwanda. Here's a partial list of current national rankings:

1. Rwanda
3. Cuba
4. Sweden
7. Finland
8. South Africa
9. Netherlands
10. Nicaragua
11. Iceland
12. Norway
14. Denmark
16. Angola
17. Belgium   
18. Argentina
19. Spain
20. Uganda
22. Germany   
23. Serbia   
25. New Zealand
27. Algeria   
31. Burundi   
36. Ethiopia
37. Afghanistan
38. France
39. Tunisia
40. South Sudan
43. Iraq
45. Australia
45. Canada (tied)
46. Sudan   
47. Vietnam
48. Kazakhstan
57. United Kingdom
59. Eritrea
62. Bosnia and Herzegovina
63. China
66. Cambodia
67. Israel
76. United Arab Emirates
80. United States of America
As Senator Gillibrand points out in her excellent diary, women make up 51% of the population in the United States, but only make up 17% of Congress.

There are 195 countries in the world, and yet, only 11 countries have elected a woman to serve as head of state. The United States, of course, is not among those 11 nations.

And at the Congressional level? 2010 was the first year since 1987 that women made no progress in raising the percentage of women elected to Congress.

Democrats lost control of the House of Representatives, bringing an end to Represenative Nancy Pelosi's historic leadership role as the first woman Speaker of the House.

3 women committee chairs—Rep. Louise Slaughter on the Rules Committee, Rep. Nydia Velazquez on the Small Business Committee, and Rep. Zoe Lofgren on the Standards of Official Conduct Committee—will also lose their leadership positions as the Democrats become the minority party in the House.

The number of women serving in the Senate will remain level at 17. The number of women serving in the House of Representatives will drop for the first time since 1979.

10 incumbent Democratic Congresswomen lost their seats. No Republican women in the House lost their seats. One incumbent woman Senator lost her seat.

Women aren't just under-represented at the congressional level. We are under-represented at ALL levels of government.
Women constituted 54% of voters in the 2008 elections, but only 24% of state legislators.

Only 22% of all statewide elective executive office positions are currently held by women.

Only 6 out of 50 states have a female governor.

On average, male cabinet appointees outnumber women cabinet appointees in our states by a ratio of 2 to 1.

The percentage is even smaller when it comes to women of color:
Women of color represent only 4% of Congress.
Of the 89 women serving in the 112th US Congress, 24 are women of color.

From those, 13 are African American, 7 are Latina, 4 are Asian American and none are Native American.

Of the 68 women serving in statewide elective executive offices 10, or 14.7% are women of color.

Women of color constitute just 4.7% of the 7,382 state legislators.

Why are American women still under-represented in government? According to a US News report from June, and reports from the WCF Foundation, there are several reasons.

1. On average, women candidates raise less money than their male counterparts.

The top three women who enjoyed incumbency advantage in 2008 raised approximately $33 million—$16 million less than the total for the top three male incumbents.

In highly competitive races, the gap between the top-raising female and male U.S. Senate challengers in 2008 was almost $14 million (Senator Kay Hagan raised $8.5 million and Al Franken $22.5 million), which is $8 million more than the difference in 2006.

Male U.S. House incumbents raised on average $196,281 more than women in 2008.

2. Redistricting appears to target female candidates more often than male candidates.
When lines are redrawn, women often bear the brunt of it. Is it deliberate? Palmer and Simon said they aren't sure, but the numbers don't look good. Talking Points Memo recently gave the example of North Carolina, where 10 of 25 Democratic women lawmakers were either forced into a district with another incumbent, or redrawn into a primarily Republican district.
3. Incumbency
Men were in office before women, and once a person is in office, they have serious advantages for reelection. Usually, the most "winnable" seats are already held by men.
4. Less media coverage.
According to the Daily Beast, in media reports on women's issues—like abortion and birth control—men are quoted some five times more than women are. And that affects the coverage of women in politics. "We've come a long way. ... But it's still husbands and hemlines," Palmer said. The "war on women," hasn't helped.
5. Stereotypes
Voters can take some of the blame, said Palmer, as many people automatically assume that a female candidate will be better on social issues—like women's rights or education, and a male candidate will be better on hard issues—like defense and the economy.
6. Women often choose to run later in life.
That's only recently started to change. Palmer says that only eight women have ever had babies while in Congress, and half of those were in the last five years.
There is no quick fix. We will have to work very hard in the years to come to raise the percentage of women working in government. In the short term, however, we need to donate (if you can), volunteer, and vote!

We have 11 Democratic women currently up for election (re-election) to the Senate:

Tammy Baldwin - Wisconsin
Shelley Berkley - Nevada
Maria Cantwell - Washington
Dianne Feinstein - California
Kirsten Gillibrand - New York
Heidi Heitkamp - North Dakota
Mazie Hirono - Hawaii
Amy Klobuchar - Minnesota
Claire McCaskill - Missouri
Debbie Stabenow - Michigan
Elizabeth Warren - Massachusetts

Women - both as candidates and as voters - are key in this election. Not only are we fighting to re-elect the President, we are fighting tooth-and-nail to retain control of the Senate. Republicans only need to gain 4 seats to gain control of the Senate.

There are also a record number of women running for Congress this year.

The number of women running for Congress this year is higher than ever before, according to research.

Analysis of female candidates in the upcoming election shows 295 so far have filed for seats in the House of Representatives, with another due to file in August. The previous record of 262 was set in 2010.

Women are also on track to break the record for the number of who have won their nomination battles, according to the non-partisan 2012 Project and the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP).

One hundred and thirteen women have already won their primaries, at a time when over half of the states have had primaries. The previous record, in 2004, was 141.
There remains a large disparity in the political make-up of those running, however. Democrats have filed in much greater numbers – 185 compared to 110 Republican women – and have also won their nominations at a higher rate, 85 Democrats to 28 Republicans.

Debbie Walsh, director of CAWP, described the results as “encouraging”. If the pattern continued, Walsh said, she could envisage a post-election America where women made up 20% of the House, compared to 17% now.

And if enough Democrats get out and vote, we may even have a shot at regaining control of the House.
In district after district, seats that were supposed to remain safely in the GOP column have become competitive; swing districts are tilting more sharply to Democrats; and it's not a stretch now to imagine the Democrats holding on to the White House, extending their majority in the Senate and winning enough seats in the House to flip it back to Democratic control.
A majority of women polled support Obama and the Democratic Party.
In the Pew Research Center’s most recent national survey, conducted March 7-11, Obama led Mitt Romney by 20 points (58% to 38%) among women voters. It marked the second consecutive month that Obama held such a wide advantage over Romney among women (59% to 38% in February). In both February and March, Obama ran about even with Romney among men.
And this isn't a new trend. (Which could be part of the reason the GOP is so hostile towards women).
The gender gap in 2008 – the seven-point difference between women and men in support for the Democratic candidate – was comparable to the gap in most elections since 1980. Even when Democratic candidates failed to garner a majority of the women’s vote – as in 1980, 1984 and 1988 – they still drew more support from women than from men.
And support for Obama and the Democrats among women under 65 is even higher!  Obama leads by 31% among women between 18 and 50. He leads by 22% among women age 50 to 65.

When women vote in large numbers, Democrats win, it's really that simple.

And just in case you need some extra incentive to GOTV, I'll give you an idea of what a Republican controlled Senate would look like.

Foreign Relations Committee:
Current Chairman: John Kerry
Potential Replacement: Sen Bob Corker, R-TN

I'm a lawmaker, but I really don't like laws ~ Sen. Bob Corker

Not only doesn't he like laws, he doesn't seem to like our allies too much, either. Which could be a problem if he serves as head of the Foreign Relations Committee!

It is not really our country so much is the problem, it's sort of the parasitic relationship that Canada, and France, and other countries have towards us ~ Sen. Bob Corker.
Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (HELP):
Current Head: Sen. Tom Harkin
Potential Replacement: Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-TN

Sen. Alexander was, of course, opposed to the Affordable Care Act, and would like to see it repealed. As for education, Time actually published an article about Sen. Alexander's desire to "kill education reform," in 2011.

Let's start with the Alexander bill. It wouldn't eliminate the Department of Education, but it would significantly curtail federal involvement in education policy. Under Alexander's plan, federal funds would be combined into a few large programs and school accountability would be left to the states except for the lowest-performing 5% of schools. The bill would not only undo George W. Bush's education reforms, but many of Bill Clinton's as well....

The Alexander bill...would allow schools in the middle of the pack in terms of performance, including suburban schools where groups of minority or low-income students lag behind, to be overlooked by state accountability systems.

Sen. Alexander also claims the Affordable Care Act results in students being "overcharged".
Recently, some politicians have made the case that the new law is being paid for in part by using the savings created when Congress took private banks and the subsidies they received out of the business of making guaranteed loans to students.

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., the Secretary of Education under the first President Bush, took to the Senate floor in May to claim, "We are overcharging students . . . by $8.7 billion to pay for the health care law."

Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee:
Current Head: Joe Lieberman (okay, not so great)
Potential Replacement: Sen. Tom Coburn, R-OK (much, much worse)
Coburn is a fiscal and social conservative, known for his opposition to deficit spending and pork barrel projects and for his leadership in the pro-life movement. He supports term limits, gun rights and the death penalty and opposes gay marriage. In the Senate, he is known as "Dr. No" for his tendency to place holds on and vote against bills he views as unconstitutional.
Sen. Coburn, a former physician, is also severely homophobic and completely delusional:
You know, Josh Burkeen...he was telling me lesbianism is so rampant in some of the schools in southeast Oklahoma that they'll only let one girl go to the bathroom (at a time). Now think about it. Think about that issue. How is it that that's happened to us? ~ Sen. Tom Coburn, 8/31/04
Yes, think about it - think about someone that crazy heading up the Homeland Security Committee!

But the most alarming potential change IMHO:

Environment and Public Works Committee:
Current Head: Sen. Barbara Boxer
Potential Replacement: Sen. James Inhofe, R-OK

Yes, Sen. Jim Inhofe, a notorious climate change denier, who believes global warming is a UN plot, and that only Jesus could cause climate change, would chair the committee overseeing environmental issues!

In a speech given to the US Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works on July 28, 2003, entitled "The Science of Climate Change", Senator James Inhofe (Republican, for Oklahoma) concluded by asking the following question: "With all of the hysteria, all of the fear, all of the phony science, could it be that man-made global warming is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people?" He further stated "some parts of the IPCC process resembled a Soviet-style trial, in which the facts are predetermined, and ideological purity trumps technical and scientific rigor." Inhofe has suggested that supporters of the Kyoto Protocol such as Jacques Chirac are aiming at global governance.
Inhofe actually wrote a book about his Global Warming conspiracy theory:
In a radio interview with Voice of Christian Youth America, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) argued that his belief that global warming is a hoax is biblically inspired. Promoting his book The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future, Inhofe told interviewer Vic Eliason on Wednesday that only God can change the climate:

"Well actually the Genesis 8:22 that I use in there is that “as long as the earth remains there will be springtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, day and night.” My point is, God’s still up there. The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous."

I know it's become something of a cliche to claim that each election is the most important of our lifetime, but honestly, this election really is that important. We can't afford to allow the Republicans to regain either the Presidency or control of the Senate.

If you care about women's rights, human rights, the environment, healthcare, education, the economy - then GOTV.

Fri Sep 28, 2012 at 10:35 AM PT: Thank you for rescuing the diary!


Originally posted to AuroraDawn on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 07:59 PM PDT.

Also republished by Sexism and Patriarchy, Community Manifesto Initiative, and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (23+ / 0-)

    You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time ~ Pres. Lincoln's warning for Romney

    by AuroraDawn on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 07:59:24 PM PDT

  •  More women elected at all levels will change... (8+ / 0-)

    ...politics and America for the better.

    IMHO women Kossacks can lead the movement.

    And count on many men Kossacks.

    And 2016 will be the year a woman will go to the WH.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 08:05:36 PM PDT

    •  Absolutely. (6+ / 0-)
      And count on many men Kossacks.

      You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time ~ Pres. Lincoln's warning for Romney

      by AuroraDawn on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 08:08:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  This was the argument (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Shockwave

      For giving women the vote. Didn't really change things much.

      http://callatimeout.blogspot.com/

      by DAISHI on Fri Sep 28, 2012 at 07:40:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh, it changed things a great deal... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        shaharazade, Shockwave, Sue B

        for women. If we weren't able to vote, we never would have come as far as we have in the last century.

        You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time ~ Pres. Lincoln's warning for Romney

        by AuroraDawn on Fri Sep 28, 2012 at 10:18:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  If women made up half the Ohio lege (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AuroraDawn, Shockwave

      I'm willing to bet it wouldn't have held 43 hearings on abortion bills and 0 on fixing school funding which was declared unconstitutional by our state supreme court some 15 years ago.

      Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07. http://www.ewaynepowell.com/

      by anastasia p on Fri Sep 28, 2012 at 07:21:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not to mention those... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Shockwave, seefleur

        disgraceful birth control hearings in Congress, headed by "alleged" car thief Darrel Issa, where not one woman was called as a witness.

        A Capitol Hill hearing that was supposed to be about religious freedom and a mandate that health insurers cover contraception in the United States began as an argument about whether Democrats could add a woman to the all-male panel.

        “Where are the women?” the minority Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., asked early in the hearing. She criticized the Republican committee chairman, Rep. Darrel Issa, for wanting to “roll back the fundamental rights of women to a time when the government thought what happens in the bedroom is their business. We will not be forced back to that primitive era,” she said...

        Among the witnesses invited by Issa to attend the hearing was a representative of the Catholic bishops...Joining them are many other men of other religions. Not invited, complained Democrats, were representatives from the Catholic Health Association, which is run by a woman and actually runs the Catholic hospitals, nor Catholic Charities, both of which said Friday they supported the president’s plan.

        Ranking committee member Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., wanted to invite third-year Georgetown Law Center student Sandra Fluke to testify, telling Issa it was important to have at least one woman at the witness table because the issue involved health repercussions for women. Read Fluke’s full testimony here.

        Issa’s staff sent a letter to the Democrats, saying, “As the hearing is not about reproductive rights but instead about the administration’s actions as they relate to freedom of religion and conscience, he believes  that Ms. Fluke is not an appropriate witness.”

        "I think my biggest concern obviously would just be for his mental well-being," ~ Ann Romney discussing Mitt.

        by AuroraDawn on Fri Sep 28, 2012 at 08:00:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  It also would provide Medicaid coverage (0+ / 0-)

        to uninsured cancer patients, instead of fighting against the idea.

        It would also come up with a better system for funding public schools and promote more transparency in government.

        Well, we can dream.

        "Mitt Romney is Dick Cheney with more charisma"

        by Betty Pinson on Sat Sep 29, 2012 at 05:38:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  AuroraDawn! (6+ / 0-)

    What an excellent diary.  I'm going to hotlist this for future reference.

    So glad you decided to post a diary fleshing out the information you posted in a comment in another diary, but did you ever go the distance with your fine effort!

    Thank you, again.

    Hope this gets the attention is so richly deserves.

  •  Outstanding documentation and presentation. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cronesense, AuroraDawn, Shockwave

    Though I knew that the under-representation here was very bad, I hadn't realized by how much, and I was really shocked how low we are in relation to other nations.

    Since I've become politically aware and involved many, many years ago, I've believed that women were better suited to govern than men, other qualifications being equal. Many reasons that I've come to that conclusion.

    The extent that women have been held back in politics, and especially recently with sterotypes of all sorts being promoted by the rabid right, is one of the chief reasons that progress has been stalled at best and regressed in the worst of instances.

    Chief neoconservative/fundamentalist allied belief: All things are possible if only you lie.

    by blueoasis on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 08:43:44 PM PDT

    •  I have mixed feelings about that... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SoCalSal, Shockwave

      As a woman, obviously, I want to see a far greater number of women in government. And I agree wholeheartedly with this bit:

      The extent that women have been held back in politics, and especially recently with sterotypes of all sorts being promoted by the rabid right, is one of the chief reasons that progress has been stalled at best and regressed in the worst of instances.
      My hope is that one day we will see women make up at least 50% of Congress. I do believe if gender distribution in Congress was more equal, we would, at the very least, see greater progress made on a number of issues including healthcare, education, and civil rights.

      That said,  I disagree with you about this (at least in part):

      Since I've become politically aware and involved many, many years ago, I've believed that women were better suited to govern than men, other qualifications being equal.
      I don't want to undervalue the contribution made by liberal men. My favorite member of the Senate is actually a man (and an Independent) - Sen. Bernie Sanders.

      Some women are "better suited to govern" than others. It's true that, statistically at least, women tend to be more supportive of liberal causes, but there are definite exceptions to that rule. Michele Bachmann, Condi Rice, and Sarah Palin all spring immediately to mind!

      I would never vote for anyone based on gender alone. I realize you weren't suggesting that, either, but I've met people who do vote based solely on gender, and it's really counterproductive IMHO. Ideally, the best person should win.

      I remember a conversation I had years ago with my late grandfather. He insisted that if women ruled the world there would be no war, because mothers would never send their children off to die. That's a very flattering thought, but as I pointed out to him, Maggie Thatcher is a mother, and as PM of the UK she had no problem sending off Brits to fight in Falklands. Not all women are born humanitarians.

      You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time ~ Pres. Lincoln's warning for Romney

      by AuroraDawn on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 09:04:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I thought about getting into the examples (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AuroraDawn

        that you mention, but it became more complex than I wanted to explicate.

        But it's impossible given the nature of the subject and thesis to not speak in some degree of generality without writing a book on the subject.  It's been my experience that in more instances than not women with whom I've worked are better at insightfully identifying and solving problems than men in similar situations.  They are better at quickly taking into account all of the details and looking for solutions that work though they may not be the most typical, standard ones.

        Of course, in terms of elections and jobs, as with everything in life, it always comes down to the individuals involved and the circumstances surrounding them.

        Chief neoconservative/fundamentalist allied belief: All things are possible if only you lie.

        by blueoasis on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 09:46:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  and so many women are still in bondage to (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AuroraDawn

        cultural, patriarchal constructs that stem from centuries past.  Just look at all the anti-woman legislation...absolutely draconian, and backwards, to boot.

        Thanks for resourcing and documenting this information in one place.  Elect Obama, and Women, NOW!

        •  ...liberal women, that is! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AuroraDawn
        •  I just keep flashing back... (0+ / 0-)

          to Senator Scott Brown admonishing Elizabeth Warren to "quit scaring women".

          Women should be scared! The legislation being proposed by Republicans at the State and Federal level is downright scary. They seem determined to drag us all back into the Stone Age.

          You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time ~ Pres. Lincoln's warning for Romney

          by AuroraDawn on Fri Sep 28, 2012 at 12:49:48 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  We've made progress in Ohio (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AuroraDawn

        The Ohio Democratic Party seems to have learned a lesson from 2010, when it's very likely it's dissing of women cost it the governorship and ousted the best attorney general in the country, Rich Cordray.

        We currently have 7 women running out of 16 seats. Three of them are in four of the Democratic "gimme" districts the Republicans designed in their reckless and offensive gerrymander, so we know Marcy Kaptur and Marcia Fudge will be back, and Joyce Beatty from Columbus will be joining them, becoming Ohio's second African-American congressperson along with Fudge. (Not the second ever elected). In four other districts where we have any chance, we have strong women candidates. All are openly and strongly pro-choice unlike the debacle candidacy in 2010 of an anti-choice candidate on the statewide ticket that caused many women to sit out the campaign.

        Meanwhile, the Republicans primaried their only woman — Jean "Scrunchie" Schmidt. Tonight at a voter turnout rally, Marcy said something interesting: that the Republicans connived to dump her because she showed an alarming propensity of working with Democrats on what Marcy referred to as "small amendments." She said that a photo of Schmidt embracing the President at the State of the Union address was used as a weapon against her: "consorting with the enemy."

        If Democrats retake the house, Marcy should become the chairperson of the powerful appropriations committee. It couldn't be in better hands. She's a savvy political player, committed to helping regular working people.

        Take the "Can't(or)" out of Congress. Support E. Wayne Powell in Va-07. http://www.ewaynepowell.com/

        by anastasia p on Fri Sep 28, 2012 at 07:30:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I would love to see that happen. (0+ / 0-)
          If Democrats retake the house, Marcy should become the chairperson of the powerful appropriations committee.
          I think the Nation once described Marcy as the most valuable person in Congress. It was a well-deserved honor. She's one of the finest progressive Dems we have in Congress IMHO.
          She said that a photo of Schmidt embracing the President at the State of the Union address was used as a weapon against her: "consorting with the enemy."
          How sad is that? To call someone a traitor because they hugged the President -- it's just crazy. I wonder who will be left when the teapartiers are finally finished purging the GOP of "enemies" and "traitors". Who will live up to their purity test?

          "I think my biggest concern obviously would just be for his mental well-being," ~ Ann Romney discussing Mitt.

          by AuroraDawn on Fri Sep 28, 2012 at 07:40:53 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  is the Falklands a good example (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AuroraDawn

        of a bad war?

        I don't know that I would agree.  Dictatorship invades land wholly occupied for well over a century by another people, and ignores the wishes of the occupants?  What would you have had Maggie Thatcher do, ignore that?

        I would agree with the general point however that women are not by definition peacelovers and peacemakers and it is unfair to men to suggest that.

        •  Fair point. (0+ / 0-)

          My grandfather's theory was that rule by women would lead to an end to all war - both just and unjust. I disagree. Perhaps there would be fewer wars if women had greater power, but I highly doubt it would completely eradicate war.

          Blackadder: Everything goes over your head, doesn't it, George? You should go to Jamaica and become a limbo dancer.

          by AuroraDawn on Sat Sep 29, 2012 at 04:07:26 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I've been amazed and embarrassed for years (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AuroraDawn, wu ming

    that women are so underrepresented in our government, while we require nations like Iraq and Afghanistan to have equal representation of the sexes in the governments they set up to meet our supposed standards of gender equality.

    Against stupidity the gods themselves fight in vain. Schiller

    by deweyrose on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 08:51:50 PM PDT

  •  in addition to the cultural sexism (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AuroraDawn

    there are structural reasons why the US lags here. first past the post tends to elect far fewer women than proportional or party list systems, as can be seen on that list. additionally, of those countries with female heads of states, nearly all of them were prime ministers elected by a party, rather than a directly elected president. making that even harder in our case is the electoral college, which makes any president dependent on winning support in states with a tradition of being culturally conservative.

    not that any of this excuses the abysmal numbers of elected female politicians in this country, especially at executive positions, but just that if the same country had a parliamentary system allocated proportionally through party lists, the chance of a female PM and women in congress generally would likely be significantly higher.

    •  You're correct, but it's still shocking... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SoCalSal

      to think that South Sudan, for instance, has a greater percentage of women representatives in Parliament than we have in Congress.

      You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time ~ Pres. Lincoln's warning for Romney

      by AuroraDawn on Thu Sep 27, 2012 at 09:11:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  There are some other issues (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wu ming

      And it's a bit of sloppiness with definitions.

      In many countries, there's a difference between head of state and head of government, and the respective power each holds varies, oftentimes with one of the positions being largely symbolic or ceremonial.

      For instance, Canada is one of 16 countries that right now has a female head of state in the person of Elizabeth II, and we obviously didn't elect her, but that's okay because the post is largely ceremonial and everyone recognizes it's really the head of government who is important (and Canada has had a female Prime Minister).

      As another, the chancellor of Germany is head of government, and everyone knows Angela Merkel. The German head of state is President Joachim Gauck, and I'm pretty confident almost no one outside Germany knows who he is because he doesn't have that significant a role.

      At the same time, in France the president (head of state) is considered the primary leadership position, while the prime minister (head of government) is clearly a subsidiary one.

      And then there's the US, which really doesn't have any position equivalent of head of government due to the way your system is set up.

  •  it's also pretty variable by state (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SoCalSal, shaharazade

    a few years ago, the vast majority of my political representatives - a majority of my city council, my county supervisor, state senator, assemblywoman, and both senators - were women.

  •  Seething about the diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shaharazade

    Strikes me badly. I got for a woman because I identify with her views, not because she's a woman. The diary seems almost geared the opposite way, that gender needs to be supported. Qualification comes first, though. The fact that ill vote for women has to do with us sharing similar ideals, especially given the Democratic Party's ability to field a more diverse lineup. But that doesn't have to do with a woman being a woman, that has to do with her ideals and qualifications.

    I could be over thinking it though.

    http://callatimeout.blogspot.com/

    by DAISHI on Fri Sep 28, 2012 at 07:43:26 AM PDT

    •  the diary points to several reasons why... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AuroraDawn, shaharazade

      ...qualified women may not have the chance to present themselves as candidates - because of the way the US system functions.

      Voters in Rwanda and 67 other countries consistently have more chances to compare their ideals to the ideals of female candidates than you do.

      The fact that the US system works that way is intentional.

      Cheers.

    •  I have no idea what diary you were reading. (0+ / 0-)

      This is a talking point I'd expect from a Republican.

      The diary seems almost geared the opposite way, that gender needs to be supported.
      Where did I suggest that you should vote for someone based on gender alone? Good luck finding that quote, because it doesn't exist. Nowhere in this diary did I suggest that gender alone qualifies a woman to do anything.
      Qualification comes first, though.
      No kidding! And elsewhere in the comments, I think you'll find that I said that.

      In the diary I simply pointed out that while women make up more than half the population, we make up less than a quarter of the government. Do you really believe that is because there aren't enough qualified women to serve? Maybe that was true in the 1950s, but it isn't true today. There have been several academic studies on this subject, and none of them back up your POV. Not one!

      Obviously, I would not vote for someone based on gender alone. My current Congresswoman is a Republican, for example. I'll be voting for her Democratic male opponent.

      I have happily supported liberal male politicians all my life, with donations, volunteer work, and my vote, and will continue to do so. That doesn't mean I wouldn't like to see more qualified, intelligent, Democratic women in government. I would, and frankly, I don't think there is anything wrong with that desire.

      I would also like to see more minorities in government - both male and female. Now would I vote for someone based on race alone? No, but I firmly believe that this country would be a better place if Congress was a more diverse body.

      You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time ~ Pres. Lincoln's warning for Romney

      by AuroraDawn on Fri Sep 28, 2012 at 10:34:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not necessarily (0+ / 0-)

        a Republican talking point. I read your list of women candidates and while I support several of them and prefer most to Republican mals or female DiFi or Caskill for instance are not Dems. I can honestly say I can get behind as a liberal progressive woman. I will and do vote for them as the alternative is dire. I don''t think just because a candidate or pol is a woman that makes them automatically better then say a liberal man running for the same office.

         I do believe that if our representative bodies had as many women as men we would be better off. There are also many women running for office I do support and donate to Elisabeth Warren, Donna Edwards, Tammy Baldwin. How many progressive liberal women are given power and a chance to take on the party machines in place?  

        To say that one votes for what the candidates advocates or believes in or holds as principles is not Republican talking points or anti-women talking points It's thinking through the filter of partisan gender loyalty and voting for pols, female or male who are democratic and are willing to fight for human and womens rights.  

        I expect to see more and more women join the fray and take on the men's club without becoming caricatures of their male counterpoints. Iron maidens with 'balls' somehow just piss my feminist self right off.  Just like with male Democrat's we need more better women candidates.  

        •  But to say that my diary... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          shaharazade

          left them "seething", and to suggest that I was saying we should vote for a candidate based on gender alone?

          I never once suggested that we should mindlessly vote for female candidates simply because of their gender. If you - or the other poster - misunderstood my meaning, than I am apologize, but that wasn't the point I was trying to make. I would never endorse such a strategy.

          My point was quite simply this: Women make up 51% of the population and less than 20% of Congress. I would like to see that change. I would like to see more women - qualified, liberal women - in Congress. I would also like to see more men and women of color in Congress. Would I vote for a candidate based solely on their gender (or race)? No, of course not.

          I don''t think just because a candidate or pol is a woman that makes them automatically better then say a liberal man running for the same office.
          Of course it doesn't, and I never once said that it did. I'm not sure why you - or the other poster - seem to think that I was suggesting women are inherently better than men. I don't believe that and I wasn't attempting to suggest it. I would simply like to see a more equal balance of both men and women, as well as racial minorities, in Congress.

          As for McCaskill, she is to the right of me, but IMHO she is, by far, preferable to her opponent Todd Akin. Not because she is a woman, but because she is sane. He isn't. More to the point, Todd Akin is a misogynist.

          If you can't bring yourself to support her, because you don't agree with her politics, that's fine, I can understand that.

          To say that one votes for what the candidates advocates or believes in or holds as principles is not Republican talking points
          No, it isn't, and that wasn't what I took exception to. This is the comment I found offensive, and reminiscent of GOP talking points:
          Seething about the diary
          Strikes me badly. The diary seems almost geared the opposite way, that gender needs to be supported. Qualification comes first, though.

          To suggest that I was asking people to vote based solely on gender, isn't true, and I find that accusation deeply insulting. It's the sort of accusation that Republicans toss out whenever they criticize women - they accuse us of voting blindly based on gender. I have never once done that in my life. I supported Obama in the primary, not Clinton. Why? Because I considered him the better candidate. I'm supporting my male Democratic Congressional candidate against his female Republican opponent. Why? He's sane and much better qualified. And I will happily support any other liberal male candidate who shares my views.

          That said, I do feel society would benefit from more equal representation in Congress. I don't think that is a sexist or discriminatory stance to take.

          You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time ~ Pres. Lincoln's warning for Romney

          by AuroraDawn on Fri Sep 28, 2012 at 06:03:09 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I agree (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            AuroraDawn

            and did not in any way mean to detract from your wonderful dairy that promotes more women in our representative political bodies. It is truly needed. We need more progressive democratic women and more minority liberal candidates who represent the principles of democracy and run as Democrat's.  

            Of course McCaskill is better then Akins. Akins is pig ignorant and so creepy it makes Clare in all her blue doggie nastiness the obvious choice. I'm just saying that as a women I want and will work for not only more women but women who are actually democratic, and gasp, liberal.

            I did not in any way mean to give you grief for your dairy's promotion of women having equal representation in our national government bodies. I too worked for and supported Obama over Clinton for the same reasons you did. I'm not a big fan of breaking glass ceilings created by white dudes who do god's work. I'm also not a big fan of women pol's with power like Hillary, Maddog Albright, Thatcher and the current Angela Merkel.

            I'm not attacking you or your dairy but please having numbers demographics, more women more minority representatives doesn't address the overriding dilemma we as voters all face. Who in this sea of machine pols R and D will actually offer some  representation of we the people be we male female or GLBT?

            So don't jump down my throat just give me some choice. Male female, gay I don't care. I do care about women's rights I care about human rights. I see very few Democratic pols of any genders willing to stand up and fight for ordinary people and for democratic principles.  

            Good dairy and Carl Sagan one of my favorite humane scientists agrees with you. Until our governing bodies are not all yang where screwed. Is Caskill without the threat of Akins a good female D candidate? No sadly and she is what were stuck with nationally both male and female. Too bad the Democratic party isn't representative of what all as humans need and want representation bottom up.  

                   

            •  I apologize if I overreacted... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              shaharazade

              I was just really insulted by the original poster's comment. Usually, I wouldn't be so sensitive, but I've had a terrible week, and I think that's reflected in my response. I'm sorry I gave you grief for it.

              I see very few Democratic pols of any genders willing to stand up and fight for ordinary people and for democratic principles.
                   
              This I completely agree with. I find many of our mainstream Democratic choices - both male and female - disappointing. The Senator I most admire isn't even a Democrat, he's an Independent - Bernie Sanders. He is what Democrats should aspire to be IMHO.

              The original mission of Kos was to elect "more and better" Democrats. Unfortunately, the right-wing has gone completely off the deep-end, and a result, we seem to be focused on the "more" part to the exclusion of the "better" bit. It's frustrating.

              You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time ~ Pres. Lincoln's warning for Romney

              by AuroraDawn on Fri Sep 28, 2012 at 07:17:34 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  More women will help (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                AuroraDawn

                call me prejudiced or what ever but I do believe that the more women we elect the better chance we have to have a government that is more representative of humanist values. Sorry to give you grief, my intent was self serving in my own intense search for democratic representation that just represents all of us. Hard to reconcile real politics with what we need as women and as a society.

                I too look forward to a democratic representative  government that actually represents all of us women, men, children and old people, young people. Humans all of us globally need help and representation. Were all worthy of consideration and we all are surely above the machination of those that have power and seek to maintain their grip, be they male or female. Meanwhile plenty of female pols I can and do support.  Thanks for he dairy. It fired me up to get 'more, better' women elected to public office.

                I goggled women candidates in 2012 and found many admirable women running in this election then I knew or imagined that were out there and running. So thank you. You lifted this liberal woman up.            

                •  I don't think it's prejudiced at all... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  shaharazade

                  The current makeup of Congress doesn't reflect us accurately as a society. It just doesn't. Hopefully, that will change. I truly believe that once we have a more diverse Congress, with more women and more minorities, we will begin to see certain issues addressed (both economic and social issues) that have been largely ignored.

                  There are plenty of wonderful liberal men in Congress, and I'm not trying to take anything away from them, or diminish their contributions, but I believe it would help to have a larger cross section of society represented; to have people from all walks of life, people who brought a different outlook and life experience to the table.

                  Humans all of us globally need help and representation. Were all worthy of consideration and we all are surely above the machination of those that have power and seek to maintain their grip, be they male or female.
                  Very well said.
                  It fired me up to get 'more, better' women elected to public office.
                  I'm glad, that's what I hoped to do.  :-)

                  "I think my biggest concern obviously would just be for his mental well-being," ~ Ann Romney discussing Mitt.

                  by AuroraDawn on Fri Sep 28, 2012 at 08:18:33 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

  •  One thing to understand about Pakistan, Bangladesh (0+ / 0-)

    etc. is that the women leaders of that country are kin of earlier male leaders.

    Bhutto wouldn't have become Prime Minister(PM), but for her father who was the PM and was deposed by a coup.

    Same with Bangladesh - infact, there the fight is between wife's of 2 erstwhile leaders.

    Even India where Indira Gandhi was a very strong leader for over a decade - her father Nehru was the first PM of India.

    You have a similar pattern repeat in Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Philippines.

    Infact, it would be somewhat of a repeat here, if Hillary becomes the first female president.

    Enjoying driving the electric Nissan Leaf as the primary car from Feb '11

    by EVNow on Fri Sep 28, 2012 at 11:42:50 AM PDT

    •  That's a good point, but it doesn't change... (0+ / 0-)

      the fact that women are under-represented in the US government. Setting aside the comparisons to other nations, and focusing on the US, the reality is that American women make up 51% of the population, and yet, we make up less than 20% of government representatives at the federal level, and, on average, less than 25% of government representatives at the state and local level.

      You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time ~ Pres. Lincoln's warning for Romney

      by AuroraDawn on Fri Sep 28, 2012 at 11:56:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  why the obsession with No 1 (0+ / 0-)

        anyway?  Common in the US, I know, but still, why?

        The US was by no means the first country to give women the vote, and if I were a New Zealander I'd be wondering why my country was so low down this list after such a promising start.

        •  I'm an American, and I think it's unfortunate... (0+ / 0-)

          that we don't have greater diversity in our Congress, and not just with regards to gender. That doesn't mean I don't care about women in other nations

          Realistically, though, there is very little I can do to improve the chances of women running for election in New Zealand. And I doubt they'd want some cheeky Yank butting-in anyway.

          It is election year in this country, however, and I can do something to support (qualified) women running for office here.

          Blackadder: Everything goes over your head, doesn't it, George? You should go to Jamaica and become a limbo dancer.

          by AuroraDawn on Sat Sep 29, 2012 at 04:20:42 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Yes - but the point is ... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AuroraDawn

        state of women in those countries is pitiful compared to US - irrespective of whether there is some representation for women among elites.

        Enjoying driving the electric Nissan Leaf as the primary car from Feb '11

        by EVNow on Sat Sep 29, 2012 at 03:43:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't think I've explained myself... (0+ / 0-)

          very well. I wasn't trying to suggest that women in Bangladesh (or elsewhere in the Third World) enjoy the same freedom, equality or standard of living that women in the US do. They don't. That was actually kind of the point I was attempting to make, albeit ineptly.

          We have far greater freedom, more power, more equality, and yet, in spite of that, women in this country are still under-represented in government at all levels. Why? That was the subject I was attempting to explore in this diary. I actually wrote this diary in response to a diary by Sen. Gillibrand in which she mentioned the fact that women make up just 17% of Congress.

          It would take an entirely new diary to discuss why women in the Third World have not benefited from the greater level of representation they have in government.

          Blackadder: Everything goes over your head, doesn't it, George? You should go to Jamaica and become a limbo dancer.

          by AuroraDawn on Sat Sep 29, 2012 at 06:19:18 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Yet, a couple of days ago, the woman of Uraguay (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AuroraDawn

    won a battle for legalized abortion (in the first trimester) against the almost overwelming forces of the Catholic church. Just before the vote, according to a picture on CNN, about a hundred women stood on the steps outside the the legislature with signs reading "We will not be ignored." And, they probably won't be -- they were naked.

    Eliminate tax breaks that stimulate the offshoring of jobs.

    by RJDixon74135 on Fri Sep 28, 2012 at 07:02:20 PM PDT

    •  Sometimes extreme measures work. ;-) (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RJDixon74135
      about a hundred women stood on the steps outside the the legislature with signs reading "We will not be ignored." And, they probably won't be -- they were naked.

      You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time ~ Pres. Lincoln's warning for Romney

      by AuroraDawn on Fri Sep 28, 2012 at 07:19:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Pakistan has *not* elected a woman head of state (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AuroraDawn

    Pakistan elected a woman head of government (prime minister), not head of state (president). In the United States those functions belong to the same office, so they are easily confused, but most Commonwealth countries, including Pakistan, have a head of state who is not head of government.

    That said, Pakistan has had a female head of state, Queen Elizabeth II, who was Queen of Pakistan from 1952 until 1956, when Pakistan became a republic. But she was not an elected head of state.

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