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Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


by folkbum

Another front in the battle over whether gender differences are innate or cultural:
Ruth Marcus, a Washington Post columnist, thinks that it is the lack of political ambition which keeps women away from participating in political life. It's not discrimination that keeps the number of American women in Congress at 16 percent; the problem, she writes, is that women have an "inner glass ceiling": a tendency to give up too soon and too easily, a tendency to shirk away from the feistiness of political battles, a tendency to underrate their own abilities.

Marcus learned this from a recent Brookings Institute study by Jennifer L. Lawless and Richard L. Fox, which is summarized like this: "In this report, we argue that the fundamental reason for women's under-representation is that they don't run for office. There is a substantial gender gap in political ambition; men tend to have it and women don't." [. . .]

[T]he United States ranks 68th in the world in the proportion of women in national legislatures. Either 67 countries have women with more ambitious genes or both cultural values and the institutional aspects of political systems matter.
Among the other startling statistics that you will learn when you, as they say, read the whole thing, is that only 24% of state legislators in the country are women. We have an opportunity to move those numbers a little bit, as there are a number of great Democratic women running as challengers or for open seats in the Wisconsin Assembly and Senate this fall. Consider supporting them through my ActBlue page, or visit them individually:Also, I want to add Chris Sinicki, a solid progressive Democrat who is being challenged by an anti-woman Bob Jones University alumnus (partially funded by the anti-Catholic former Republican state senator Tom Reynolds) in the Democratic primary. I will also point out that we have two great women running in the primary for the first Congressional District, Paulette Garin and Marge Krupp. All of them could use your support!

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