second test for women and politics

second test for women and politics - Women fought for more...

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Women fought for more than a hundred years to gain the right to vote. It came with the passing of the 19 th Amendment. Although women have gained suffrage, they haven’t been represented as well as they should be in government participation. To this day there hasn’t been a woman president even though there is a woman who could be well on her way to be the leader of the United States. Historically the number of women in the government has been relatively low compared to men and a shift is underway since the “Year of the Woman” in 1992. The number of women in the Congress has been increasing tremendously although women are still greatly underrepresented. Women are affected by many factors that keep these numbers small. The media for one impacts women in the political world in way that are not seen by many outsiders. The women that participate in the Congress and the Judiciary are strong and intelligent. To overcome this under representation we as people need to look past the instilled perceptions of women and look at what women have done historically and in the present. The role that the media plays in politics is major. Be it a man or a woman, the media can bee good or bad for a politician or social movement. Women have historically been treated poorly by the media. The media affects the public’s perception. The women’s movement for suffrage was especially bashed and more recently the second wave of activism in the 6o’s and 70’s. “Political movements depend on the media to enlarge the scope of their disputes by recruiting activists to their causes and raising awareness about the issues that concern them.”(pg100) Media coverage influences the public and it is a major concern to be seen in a good way to expose yourself or cause. In order to receive coverage a movement needs to be seen as legitimate and newsworthy.
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Because the media is a male dominated field this is particularly hard on women as a whole whether or not they want to raise awareness or run for a government position. This could be a major reason why the Equal Rights Amendment was never ratified. Feminist claimed that ERA was never enacted because the way the media acted toward feminism blaming them for rising divorce rates and other social ills.(pg 108) Feminism was portrayed by the media as a evil. Caryl Rivers stated “if you are constantly being told that the word equates with hairy, ugly man haters…then you are probably not going to run headlong to the office of the NOW with your membership fee in hand.”(pg. 109) The media coverage has been difficult female politicians because women are not covered enough or not covered in the same respect as men. This makes it hard for women to get out in the public sphere. Women are often covered or seen in a way that doesn’t involve politics but rather in a way that involves physical features or family life. It was seen with Jeannette Rankin, the first women to be elected to Congress. She was view by
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