Questions For Women: Why Are There So Few Women In Politics?

The Akin (achin’) gaffes and the many other stories of late in the War Against Women have not only put a microscope on reproductive rights for women, but raised much larger questions. “Why do women put up with misogyny?” and “Why are there so few women in office?”

In Colorado, where women hold more elected offices at the state level than in any other state (and we have some of the strongest women in the country!), our numbers are still not even 40%, in a country where women are 51% of the population. Add to that our gross under-representation on the Supreme Court, and women cannot honestly point fingers at any other country. The political arena in the United States grossly under-represents women.

I am curious what kinds of systemic issues are beneath this problem. For those women who read Daily Kos and are brave enough to answer some questions, I hope you will. Not only will your answers be interesting, they may educate some Cro-Magnons who lurk on liberal blogs (and I say that with much affection, of course).

It will be interesting to see if the women who use their own names answer differently from bloggers who identify as women, yet who blog anonymously. It will also be interesting to see if these same questions posted on women-only blogs yield similar answers to this blog site, which has a considerable mix.

Ladies?  

Political Environment:

Do you find the political arena friendly to, or hostile to, women when it comes to debate?

When you have strong political opinions, do you share them openly and assertively, or are you afraid to do so? Why?

Have you ever been the victim of political bullying? Was the perpetrator male or female (or unknown/anonymous)?

Do you ever hold back your political opinions due to perceived intimidation by men?

Do you see the atmosphere in the political arena improving for women’s equal participation, or getting worse?

Running for Office:

Have you ever thought about running for office? Why or why not?

If so, are you as aggressive as the men you know with similar education in the level of office to which you aspire?

Expressing Your Political Opinions in Writing:

Do you blog? Where? Why?

Are there woman-friendly blogs and do you read them? Do you submit diaries to them? Why or why not?

Support:

Is your significant other supportive of your political interests?

Would your parents have approved of your political interests?

Your children?

Female peers?

Male peers?

Do you have other women as mentors in politics?

Who has encouraged you the most to participate in the political arena, and was it effective?

Empowering Other Women:

Have you ever had a thoughtful discussion with male counterparts in the political arena about this gender issue? Why or why not?

Have you ever mentored another woman in the political arena?

Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. If you wish to send them to me privately, send them to njcronk @ aol.com. Later, I intend to write about your responses, with all names and identifying information removed (unless permission to quote you by name is granted). Thank you!

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About nancycronk

Nancy Cronk is a longtime community activist and women's leader living in Arapahoe County. Six months before the historic "red sweep" election of 2014, she was recruited to run as a "placeholder" in HD37, and managed to bring in 40K from 500 small donors, and 42% of the vote -- just one point lower than the previous candidate who ran in a presidential year.

One Community Comment, Facebook Comments

  1. jeantinley says:

    Political Environment:

    Do you find the political arena friendly to, or hostile to, women when it comes to debate?

    Somewhat hostile

    When you have strong political opinions, do you share them openly and assertively, or are you afraid to do so? Why? Openly and firmly. I have the courage of my convictions.

    Have you ever been the victim of political bullying? Yes, on Twitter and Facebook, as well as on Pro-Choice Lobby Day 2012. Ted’s Harvey’s staff quite rude, did not want us to get a word in edgewise. Chris Holbert’s staff person openly hostile, stomped off when I said, “Ken Buck.”

    Was the perpetrator male or female (or unknown/anonymous)FB and Twitter: overwhelmingly male. Harvey’s and Holbert’s obnoxious staff: female.

    Do you ever hold back your political opinions due to perceived intimidation by men? Ha. NO.

    Do you see the atmosphere in the political arena improving for women’s equal participation, or getting worse? H’mm. I think if we turn out in huge numbers, politicians will realize that we are indeed a force.

    Running for Office:

    Have you ever thought about running for office? Not really, but several friends have insisted that I should. Why or why not? I am an extremely honest person with an intense dislike of sleaze. I don’t like people who attempt to influence me against my stated beliefs. I don’t like fundraising. I will not kiss ass.

    If so, are you as aggressive as the men you know with similar education in the level of office to which you aspire? I’m aggressive, but N/A



    Expressing Your Political Opinions in Writing:

    Do you blog? Yes Where? Daily Kos and ColoradoPols.com Why? Because I enjoy it. It gives me a forum to express my opinions.

    Are there woman-friendly blogs and do you read them? Do you submit diaries to them? Why or why not? I consider DKos very woman-friendly. I read all kinds of blogs through Twitter.

    Support:

    Is your significant other supportive of your political interests? He hates politics. I decide how WE vote. He trusts me to make the best decisions for us.

    Would your parents have approved of your political interests? Mmm. I wonder. I wish that my father was still alive to discuss issues with me. My mother has completely flipped her views since Daddy’s death. So, for the sake of peace, no discussion. She watches Fox 🙁

    Your children? Yes.

    Female peers? Some. The ones who were already Dem and the ones I flipped TO Dem.

    Male peers? Some.

    Do you have other women as mentors in politics? Sort of. Not as involved as I would like/could be due to time constraints.

    Who has encouraged you the most to participate in the political arena, and was it effective? Planned Parenthood and NARAL. Yes.

    Empowering Other Women:

    Have you ever had a thoughtful discussion with male counterparts in the political arena about this gender issue? Yes.

    Why or why not? Important to me

    Have you ever mentored another woman in the political arena? Yes.

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