In my experience, women are tougher than men and braver, too. I'm not talking about brute strength, which is really only a short term phenomenon. I'm talking about over the long haul. Most men really couldn't bear the burdens that many, if not most, women bear day after day, year after year. Many women raise a family, work and give their husband the moral support that he needs to go on, all with out having someone to support them in a similar fashion. Yes, granted, the husband does contribute, some more than others, that is, if he stays around. In cases where he doesn't, that just adds to the woman's already significant burden, but I don't believe that a bad marriage is a good idea either. The point I'm trying to make is that women are tough, so it would seem that they would be more of a force for social change.
However, I do realize that women are not a unified block. There are all kinds of women. There are the women who feel that they should only be a man's “helpmeet.” There are radical feminists and women who seem more like men, and all the women who fall in between. In spite of this diversity, it would seem that women would want to represent themselves in the public and private spheres of government and business.
In the case of business, I can see the difficulty posed by the bastion of male gatekeepers, but in the sphere of government, the gatekeepers are the voters, the majority of whom are women. So why haven't woman stepped up and done something about the unequal representation that they have within our government. As it is now, most of the women who work in government and business are more the women-who-are-more-like-men type, but if more women are represented, then a broader variety of social types would be in government to address their particular concerns and the concerns that many women share. If more women are elected to government, then they have a better chance of addressing the issues that impede them in the private sector.
So why haven't women stepped up? I once asked the women in a classroom discussion how many of them were feminists, and none of them felt they were feminists. I then asked them what they were doing in college then. Shouldn't they all be home barefoot and pregnant. This got some of their danders up because they felt like they had the right to a career, but they didn't seem to see my larger point that because of feminism, they were allowed to pursue a career. Many young women don't seem to realize that they are the beneficiaries of the women who have fought over at least the last 150 years for equal rights. They seem to think that these rights have been built in for them, in spite of all of the indications to the contrary. When I asked why there weren't more women in political office, the young women didn't really seem interested, but an older woman in the class said that she thought that if we had a female president that other countries would see the United States as weak. I never expected a woman to say something like this, but even though I had seen Phyllis Schlafly say similar things on television, I didn't think that "real" women shared such views. It also made me realize that if there were more women in government, we would get this type as well, but I think that even Shalafly would support some areas where women have common interests, and of course then again, maybe not.
It has been over 90 years since women have won the right to vote, so why haven't women made more political progress. To be fair, as I stated in the beginning, many women have and will continue to have too much on their plates, but this applies mainly to women who are raising a family. However, there are women who have already raised their families who can get more involved. There are single women who can get more involved, and probably other categories of women that I'm leaving out because of a lack of imagination. Yes! Many women are already involved and do significantly more than I've ever done and will probably ever do, but the number of involved women has yet—and I will stress again-- after ninety years to reach a critical mass. The least that women can do is vote for female candidates. I realize that gender should not be the sole reason for voting for a candidate, but it should not be the sole reason for voting against a candidate either.
Now it may not make any difference to have a government that proportionally represents the electorate, but we won't know until that happens. I might also add that women are not the only ones suffering from this inertia. Progressives are in a similar boat. I realize that putting this type of diary in a political forum is in effect preaching to the choir, but I'm really interested in what women think about this.