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Since the beginnings of democratic regimes throughout history, political representation has typically been dominated by men. In contrast, women of every race have been underrepresented in every level of government both throughout America and across the world. Due to the sexism, prejudice, and discrimination, it is more difficult for women and minorities of all regions to become successful in their respective careers. In order to fight this issue, it is crucial to conduct a comparative analysis that analyzes the factors that promote greater representation of women and minorities.
This is an especially important topic study due to the fact that this phenomenon affects an individual’s fairness and personal aspirations. This causes a negative effect upon government systems as a whole because it is important to have relatively equal representatives among all types of citizens whether they are classified by race or gender. If this is accomplished, individuals of all classes will feel as though their needs are better understood.
To proceed, the response prompt in question will target conducting a comparative analysis to analyze the factors that promote greater representation of women and minorities. At the conclusion of this analysis, a strong policy recommendation to improve this issue will be formed with case studies and results. The data, measures, analyses, and results will be formed on the basis of four sources. The first source entitled “ Intersectionality, Quotas, and Minority Women’s Political Representation Worldwide” by Melanie M. Hughes discusses that despite the fact that the majority of the world’s countries have implemented policies in order to advance the political representation of women and minority groups, they still are not sure how those policies affect the election of minority women.
The source then proceeds to use hierarchical linear modeling to analyze how quotas influence the election of women from several different types of backgrounds from several different countries.
The source goes on to conclude that the results from the study finds that the policies designed to advance the political representation of women and minority groups produces diverse outcomes, but rarely challenges the dominance of men in politics. The second source that will be used is entitled “The Politics of Group Representation Quotas for Women and Minorities Worldwide” by Mona Lena Krook and Diana Z. O’Brien. This source is similar to the first source mentioned as it also explores quota policies implemented around the world. The source explores different hypotheses for empirical investigation. The third source is titled “The Impact of Electoral Systems on Women’s Political Representation” by Tracy Ann and Johnson Meyers. This source has found that countries that apply a proportional representation system have a higher number of women in their national parliaments than those with single member systems. Finally, the final source is an article from The New York Times titled “A Surge of Women Candidates, but Crowded Primaries and Tough Races Await” by Kate Zernike and Denise Lu.
This article is a recent news article that discusses the current period in the United States where an increase in the number of female candidates has been noticed. However also discusses that they are in very tough competition. These sources, overall, primarily agree and back each other up with the components that will be discussed in the theory and dependent and independent variables this research will take on. Each of these sources similarly assist in identifying the cultural, socio-economic, and political factors that promote or demote the greater representation of women and minorities in politics. This is important because the independent variable will be focused upon cultural factors based on where the individual is from, and the dependent variable will be focused upon the proportion of women in the lower or single houses of parliaments. Ultimately, the theory that will connect the dependent and independent variables will be that cultural factors across different countries influence the supply and demand factors for female candidates and explains the variation of female participation levels in parliament.
The value of political equality is central to normative theories of democracy. It is argued that women are equal citizens and therefore should share equally with men in public decision- making. Empirical theories have defined democracy by the presence of institutions, specifically in the United States using a multi-party-political system and having competitive elections. While in practice, cultural, socio-economic and political factors encompass the theories and decision making in regards to empirical democracy. Its multifaceted understanding and angles explain how women struggle to enter parliament in countries defined as democratic. Historically, the very design of democracy never allowed women to be a part. As far back as ancient Greece, the practice was exclusive to men. Throughout the rest of history, great revolutions paved way for representative democracy, such as the Glorious Revolution of 1688 in England which helped women gain access to governance and change in repeated parliament members. Today, representative democracy presented as an ideal includes women, but practice of it does not honor it successfully.
In October of 2006, studies found that the average percentage of women in lower or single houses of some 189 parliaments was only approximately 17 percent. According to Manon Tremblay, “There seems to be no connection between the proportion of women holding seats in an assembly of governance and the usage of democracy for the people of a said nation. For example, countries who are little known for their democratic virtues such as Cuba, Rwanda, and Tanzania have percentages of women parliamentarians between 30 and 48 percent, while in countries such as the U.S, France, and Switzerland who practice democracy regularly have lower percentages of women representing their nations, no greater than 25 percent.” (Tremblay, Democracy, Representation, and Women: A Comparative Analysis). Political equality is an essential feature and theory towards democracy: it is argued that women are equal citizens and therefore the fact of the matter is, women should share equal amounts of decision-making in public office.
Tremblay goes further in discussing how certain subjects and factors play into the roles of women being active in government. “Studies have shown that there are a range of factors in which influence women’s access to legislative arenas. The factors that make up women’s abilities in this field can be separated into three broad categories; cultural, socio-economic, and political” (Tremblay). They combine and overlap one another in influencing women’s ability to run for office, but more importantly, win. Do cultural factors precede socioeconomic and political factors, or is it the opposite way around? Is there even really an order to how these categories play in lives of women in government? Each of these factors have roots that define how women have been shaped by each, which helps create a dynamic understanding of what can be done in democratic nations, especially our own, to create real change.
The cultural factors refer to values, standards and beliefs that underpin a society and their institutions. These animate how a nation’s population communicate, share, and resolve with one another. Religion, education and views of gender-based roles in politics are ways that cultural factors play into roles as such. “As we look at the contributing factos for the under-representation of minorities with political careers, it is crucial to explore the educational opportunities and support systems available to these individuals. Ethnic minorities commonly lack efficient support and counseling within educational systems” (Barr, Pae, The Under-Representation of Minorities in Political Careers. 6) For many countries bound by religious upbringings and teachings, it is hard to change a movement that has lasted so long. In a democracy however, the power stands alone to the retrospective; who are made up of individuals understanding the past in order to change the future.
For many countries, rights granted to women have shifted in a positive direction over time. Despite this, the underlying factors that hide between the lines of laws allow for corporations, entities, and governments to allow for lesser representation of women. In our century, cultures of democratic states have evolved to support women, but not encourage them. Until states begin to reflect positive attitudes toward equal segments of women in office, mixed cultural factors will continue to burden women from stepping up and fighting for what they believe. Next, we have socio-economic factors. These are the factors that shape the conditions that lead women to envision careers in politics. If there are few women in politics, it is because women are under-represented in the milieus where parties identify and recruit potential candidates. Improvements in these conditions should therefore favor an increase in their presence in parliaments. Factors that must be considered when referencing to these factors include the type of society itself, birth rates, proportions of women in the labor force of a said country, the country’s GNP, education rates, healthcare rates, and urbanization. Studies show that women in parliaments are influenced by nations who encompass and make it a priority to include women in the labor market, have a high score on the Human Development Index and obtain a developed welfare state.
Finally, it is important to reflect on the factors that women are fighting against themselves; the political factors. These shape the demand for candidates, and influence the selection and the election of candidates. With regards to women’s representation, political factors belong in either two dimensions; the political rights of women, and the political regime. This first dimension is a citizenship reflection of women. Few variables have been developed to understand the specific mechanisms of which political rights of women affect their presence in parliaments. However, aspects of their rights may influence the outcome. Historical events that shaped women’s progression in society are important aspects that sway women to continue to make change, such as the year women won the right to run for office in a national election, and the year the first woman was elected to parliament. Unlike the political rights of women themselves, the political regime has received more research in determining women’s position in government. A wide range of variables explore the impact of the regime on the proportion of legislative positions held by women. They include the state structure, parliament structure, the nature of the legislative career, the party system, and the electoral system itself. Many researchers argue in support of the idea that the number of legislative seats plays a role in the proportion of women elected. With low turnover rates of parliamentarians, women face greater obstacles to access legislative assemblies. Parliaments where many parties are represented offer female candidates more possibilities to be elected.
The electoral system is the element of the political regime that has generated the most studies and determinants of how women can gain access to parliament and fields of representation. In general terms, parliaments elected by proportional representation show higher percentages of women than parliaments elected constitute by majority systems. Nonetheless, many studies also present a more complicated view. Voting systems do not consistently act independently of their respected contexts. how else could we explain that parliaments formed through the same voting system show different proportions of women parliamentarians, or the fact that the percentage of women in any given parliament varies across time even if the voting system remains constant? The truth of the matter is, these systems and factors that play into women and their respected positions in government must take time. Today, progressive countries across the world are seeing change in their parliament arenas and governing bodies that reflect a new wave of fresh views and democratic values. Women may still face underlying issues according to their positions compared to men, but steps in the right direction are under way. In our own country, women are surging to create a new future where their representation is fulfilled. The turn of the 2st century has brought back new life for democratic legislature, and it is up to voters, policy-makers, educators and students to understand that equal gender representation is now a foundation for the future.
In what has been a desperate time to reinstate change in our nation, the United States has faced challenges to equally represent citizens of all types, and there is no exception for women. Change is on the horizon as women continue to push their voices into a crowded democracy full of a majority of men. Since the foundation of our country, women have been side-stepped and held back from full potential with respect to their male counterpart. This year, the 2018 mid-term elections made strides in erasing boundaries holding back women who aspire change. The election of 2016 left many citizens in shock and disarray, but this year gave citizens the opportunity to enact some change in faces that could possibly shape the decade to follow. In restructuring the House of Representatives, approximately 476 female candidates ran for positions. Trends such as this, the #MeToo movement and women’s marches of 2017 are recent strides towards a wave of a revolution. Many of these female candidates were challenging incumbents however, who historically almost always win. A larger percentage of the women running for the open seats in Congress were in districts that favor the opposite party. It couldn’t be clearer how high the odds are stacked against women making it to the general election and the vast lack of representation of women in office.
According to the New York Times, “if a woman wins in every district where one is running, 152 female voting members would make it to the House, which would nearly double their current share but men would still outnumber women by nearly two to one” (Zernike, A Surge of Women Candidates, but Crowded Primaries and Tough Races Await). In the end of it all, the U.S House of Representatives elected a record number of women, with approximately 90 women expected to make their way to Washington D.C next month. Women continued to make headlines and break boundaries in regards to their individual characteristics. Democrats Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib became the first Muslim women elected to Congress. Republican Marsha Blackburn became the first female senator. Democrats Deb Haaland and Sharice Davids became the first Native American women elected to Congress, and Republican Kristi Noem became South Dakota’s first female governor. With refreshing, new representation in office for women and races to represent more Americans, the mid-term elections took the year by storm and reflects the ability of the people to make a difference. More importantly however, the wave of women enforcing their voice in government is a factor to promote greater representation of women and minorities for years to come. It has been truly inspirational and invigorating to see so many women, especially those of minored descent, push against the foundation of our government.
With such a drastic movement will come long, overdue change. Policies that demote women’s rights in contrast to men will now be brought back up to forefronts of state legislature. This will not be an overnight process whatsoever, and may take years to see real results. Women in the U.S working full and part-time jobs make 84 percent of what their male counterparts earn, according to the Pew Research Center. For black and Hispanic women, the rates are even worse. Black women have to work 19 months to make what white men did in a year, according to the National Women’s Law Center, and the number is even worse for Hispanic women. This is one of many issues women face socially and economically, but with rapid increases in representation, women will become capable of influencing major decisions in budgeting, commercializing, and enforcing real change in our democracy. It is only a matter of time until the statistics will show an even distribution of rights between men and women. While it may be against the bindings of democracy to reframe power and decisions solely on the basis of gender, more women coming to vote, speak, and run for office will give many benefits for the future generations of women.
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