The poor women of these United States. We are so under-represented in American politics. It certainly must mean that discrimination is to blame as we survey elected office, and find that there are fewer women than men. Certainly nothing can account for that lopsided nature, other than the evil Patriarchy, right?
This is all nonsense, of course, but it seems each new election cycle the same tired complaint is thrust back into the spotlight, so we can mourn the America that’s not yet equal. “Women are inadequately represented because only women can represent women!”, or something similarly comical. As reported by the Washington Examiner, FEC chairwoman Ann Ravel…
…said Thursday she was “embarrassed” by the number of women elected to office in the United States and faulted the role of contributions in politics.
The problem, Ravel explained, is that more men contribute to candidates than women, and that they discriminate against female candidates.This year, she held a panel at the FEC’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., to talk about women’s representation in politics. One of the panelists at that event suggested that the U.S. “completely dismantle [its] economic system” in order to solve the problem, while others suggested outlawing candidates’ right to raise or spend money.
Now, I am all in favor of fair and proper rules regarding political fundraising, donations, donor rules, etc. We should all be in favor of that. But Ravel is suggesting that the root cause for the lack of women in governmental roles is due to discrimination from male contributors. I’d of course like to see her cite any sort of substantial evidence for this claim, you know, other than her feelings. Say a male contributor prefers a male candidate over a female one simply on the basis of said candidate’s experience/expertise, so donates to him instead? Is the conclusion for that choice that it is still a discriminatory one? Can’t we like what or who we like and not be subject to assumptions of gender bias? Apparently not.
Ravel also stated…
“Its impact on women’s representation at all levels of government is really huge,” Ravel continued. “Women in the U.S. are 55 percent of the voters, and yet we have only 20 percent women in the Senate.”
The vast majority of women who make up that special 55% percent of voters do not care about the gender makeup of election results. We’re actually concerned about our candidate (whatever their gender may be), their policy platform, and if they win the seat which we’ve hoped they would obtain. The idea that equality is only measured in a perfectly even 50-50 split of male and female office holders is an absurd argument. Equal representation is found in the opportunity, not in the outcome. In no state in this country are women barred from running for office or pledging support to a candidate by way of vote or donation. Inferring anything else is nothing but emotionalism born from over-correcting the gender discrimination which existed politically at one time.