Tag Archives: President of the United States

The Partisan Gap Amongst Female Politicians is Likely to Get Worse

If I’m being honest, when I first read the title of this journal article “A partisan gap in the supply of female potential candidates in the United States,” I didn’t think twice. Pew often publishes surveys/research that seemed to indicate that the gap between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party, with regard to women candidates, was very unequal. As a result, I didn’t expect to be surprised when reading the journal article. However, there was one section that I think is especially important [Emphasis Added]:

Previous studies demonstrating single digit gender gaps in US party identification have not been able to explain the much larger gap when it comes to US elected officials. But representatives do not emerge from the public at large: they are disproportionately individuals with high education, high occupational prestige, and clear partisan preferences.

The researchers are implying that the people who run for office aren’t usually representative of the population at large (something we already knew). The important part here, though, is that they used this assumption to extrapolate to future Congress’s [Emphasis Added]:

By estimating the gender composition of this select group by partisanship, we find that the partisan gender gap is much larger among the kinds of citizens who tend to become representatives and that the emergence of this gap was contemporaneous with the historical emergence of a partisan gender gap in the US House.

Meaning, amongst those people who are more likely to seek political office, there is a larger gender gap than there is amongst the general population. Taking this one step further [Emphasis Added]:

Given the current associations between gender, partisanship, and other attributes among the public, the data suggest that future generational replacement may exacerbate the already significant gap in women’s descriptive representation between the parties, potentially reshaping the behavior of each party’s elected officials, the quality of representation available to diverse members of the public, and opinions of the public toward the Republican and Democratic parties.

Translation: if things continue as they are, the gender gap between Democrats and Republicans is likely to get worse — much worse — and it’s already pretty bad.

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Given how things can shift from year-to-year (or session-to-session), it’s hard to too confident in categorically saying that the Democrats will continue to have more women in their ranks than the Republicans. However, the data certainly seem to point to things not getting better.

While my views tend to lean to the liberal side of the spectrum, I’d still like to see more women represented in the Republican party. They are one of the two dominant (only? viable?) parties in the US and if there’s only one party that’s represented by women, that won’t necessarily lead to the best decisions for women or for Americans (and by extension, citizens of the world in general).

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Assuming that Hillary Clinton is able to become the first woman POTUS, I’d be really curious to see the result of a longitudinal study on women in politics. Theoretically, by having a Madam President, there’d be a role model for young women to aspire to. So, I’d want to test the attitudes of young women (pre-teens and teens) every year for the next 20+ years to see if there is an increase in the number of young women who aspire to be Congresswomen, Senators, and maybe even President of the United States! My hypothesis is that there’d be an increase in the desire amongst the people tested, but as the research earlier in this post alluded to, in order for there to be an increase in the number of women in politics, there needs to be an increase in the number of women who are more likely to run for President from that group of people.

ResearchBlogging.orgCrowder-Meyer, M., & Lauderdale, B. (2014). A partisan gap in the supply of female potential candidates in the United States Research & Politics, 1 (1) DOI: 10.1177/2053168014537230

Musings from the movie Lincoln

My intention was fulfilled: I did get to go and see Lincoln yesterday — and it didn’t disappoint. I know it’s Thanksgiving in the US and many of you are with your families, but I wanted to share a few thoughts on the movie:

1. First ladies (or wives of world leaders) seem to experience decisions just as much as the President or the world leaders do.

(minor spoiler alert)

2. When Senator Stevens was faced with the decision to — essentially — speak out against everything he’d been fighting for over the last 30 years, I wondered — would I be able to do that? Would you be able to do that? Of course, we can bring in Bentham‘s utilitarianism to help us explain doing what’s best for the “greater good,” but I still think it would be a difficult decision. Especially today, in the information age, when everything you say or do is kept — seemingly — forever.

3. Lincoln, in pursuing the abolition of slavery, had to know that he might lose his life. The day he died was not the first assassination attempt. So, in pursuing what he was pursuing, he had to know that he might die. The lesson here: would I be willing to give my life for a cause or a belief? Will there be a time when I’m faced with such an instance where I would give my life for what I believed in? Will you? Would you have given your life in the way Lincoln did? After I ask those questions, the thought occurs to me: Lincoln may not have seen it that way. he may not have seen it as, “I could die for this cause, so I should weigh the pros/cons.” My sense is that it might not even have been a question for him. He just knew that abolishing slavery was what he had to do — no matter the cost.

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Have a great Thanksgiving all!