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Chipping Away the Glass Ceiling

There’s something to be said about a woman who can commit herself to a profession that seeks to invalidate her and nullify her voice. She knows that she will contend with gender bias and the ever-present glass ceiling; yet, she goes into politics anyway. The 104 female members of the U.S. Congress, who use their progressive policies and collaborative nature and bipartisanship to raise their voice, go into politics despite the odds against them. However, this number should be higher, as women should have equal representation because it would uphold core democratic values which are the foundation of the United States. These 104 women also prove that a woman can do a man’s job. After all, a woman’s place is in the House… the Senate, Supreme Court, Oval Office, and every political office.

Women who go into politics are often discouraged by friends, family, and even strangers, as 100% of our Presidents have been male and women make up such a small percentage of Congress – given these facts, how could they even make a difference? Yet, nothing in the United States Constitution that says that a woman can’t hold political office. Therefore, politics is both a man’s and woman’s world. Yet, despite this, women are under-represented in politics and some argue that this is due to women not wanting to run for office as it is not what they are interested in. I understand not having a desire for politics – the vicious yet rewarding game is not everyone’s cup-of-tea; yet women who do have a desire for the game often do not run because of the risk, the lack of confidence, losing time with their family, and the battle of raising money. The ‘tradition’ of politicians being men also takes its toll on women who seek to gain office, as this influences their outward appearance by causing them to dress in a more masculine manner in order to not seem less competent and experienced, and even affecting their likelihood of being elected, as women are more closely scrutinized due to being seen as a subtype of women. Women who run for political office face an uphill battle that begins the moment they think of carving out a space for themselves in those hallowed halls.

I know this battle sounds daunting; after all, it is rather like David and Goliath. Yet, don’t let the ‘giant’ scare you away – women should hold political office for reasons far beyond just gaining equal representation. Women introduce something new into the political world which generates policies that are more progressive due to their collaborative and bipartisan nature. They make America more open to those who are minorities and/or on the outside because they know what it is like to be a minority and/or on the outside – they know the struggle of making your voice heard. Also, allowing women to have equal representation within politics would uphold the core democratic values of ‘fairness’ and ‘representative government’ – values that are part of the foundation of America. Not to mention, there’s something exciting and empowering seeing a woman take on a traditionally masculine role.

The age-old fight of gaining equal representation in politics is one that women are still engaged in today. This battle stems from the lack of female candidates – either from lack of interest or lack of confidence and/or resources – and the effect that the patriarchal system has on political women. Therefore, political parties, organizations, and male politicians should step up and help support and fund women’s campaigns as they have so much to bring to the political table – new progressive policies, the perspective of being an outsider, and the sense of empowerment that they give to young girls who seek to also carve a space for themselves in those marble halls. Women’s place in the government is slowly growing and that means we shouldn’t stop fighting – after all, it will never be over until equality of gender representation is no longer an issue.

Emily • December 11, 2016

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