In My Opinion is a weekly segment in which Interns and Staff at The White House Project comment on recent issues and articles important to their individual leadership.
Title: Parity in Politics: Why Women Don’t Want It
Author: Kathleen Schafer
There’s an obvious absence of women in American politics as compared to men – but why? Schafer acknowledges the reasons we hear most often, such as the balance of career and family, self-doubt about credentials, and media bias against political female figures. Ultimately, though, her conclusion is that women don’t want to run for office due to the nature of the beast – politics and bureaucracy aren’t efficient, but women are. She calls politics a “masculine” game, but I would say that it doesn’t always have to remain that way. If women were to take their mindset and transform the political system with it, maybe the United States would have a far more effective and quick-moving government.
Title: The Achilles Heel of Women in Politics
Author: Gillian Tett
The slightly depressing point about this piece is Tett’s conclusion that the Achilles heel of women in politics is…being a woman. Using the recent HBO docu-drama Game Change (about Sarah Palin and John McCain’s 2008 campaign) as a jumping-off point, Tett analyzes the treatment of Palin by the media, and offers the defense that Palin didn’t (for example) ask for the thousands of dollars in campaign clothes – it was the image that was forced upon her. It’s insulting that a political machine would attempt to cover up a candidate’s shortcomings by having her dress the part, rather than truly prepping her mind for the role she was willing to fill as vice president. It’ll be a revolutionary day in American politics when a female candidate’s physical image isn’t more important than what she does or doesn’t know.
Title: What My Mother, Geraldine Ferraro, Knew About Equality
Author: John Zaccaro, Jr.
Speaking of female vice-presidential candidates – Geraldine Ferarro’s son John Zaccaro, Jr., had a thoughtful rebuttal to Gloria Steinem asking, in reference to tax issues, “What has the women’s movement learned from Geraldine Ferraro’s candidacy for vice president? Never get married.” Even if it was meant humorously, writing off marriage and partnership as setting back women’s equality excludes a lot of people who could help women – those being men. Zaccaro expands on the role his father had in helping Ferraro, whether it was helping pay for law school or taking care of the house while she was at work. Women don’t have to be the only ones working toward equality or parity, and if we label men as hindrances, then we’re only deepening the divide.
April DeJarlais is a Communications Intern with The White House Project