Where are the women in politics?

Nearly one hundred years after American women got the vote through the entire nation, women’s voices are missing in politics and the media.

In the U.S. Congress, just 17% of Senators and a little less than 17% of House Members are women.

These are poor numbers compared to many other countries.  In fact, in a list of the percentages of women in the lower house of national legislatures, the United States is 78th.

On our continent, Mexico ranks 36th (with 26% women) and Canada 40th (25% women). The top region, Scandinavia, has legislatures with 40-45% women.

The U.S. has never had a woman president and only six states have women governors right now.

And, in the media, as a recent study shows, few women are quoted in newspapers, major news broadcasts, and political shows. This is even true in stories about birth control, abortion, Planned Parenthood, and women’s rights.

 Certainly not all women agree.  But political science literature shows that, on average, women legislators and voters are more oriented toward supporting education, health care, and childcare than are men.
 Although women are not more pro-choice than men,  women who are pro-choice prioritize the issue more than pro-choice men.
 Moreover, myriad studies indicate that women elected officials are, on average, more oriented toward inclusive processes, encouraging compromise and pursuing transparency.
 Leaving out women’s voices in the media and politics thus matters.

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Amy Fried

About Amy Fried

Amy Fried loves Maine's sense of community and the wonderful mix of culture and outdoor recreation. She loves politics in three ways: as an analytical political scientist, a devoted political junkie and a citizen who believes politics matters for people's lives. Fried is Professor of Political Science at the University of Maine. Her views do not reflect those of her employer or any group to which she belongs.