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  • Writer's pictureMarjorie Anne Foster

Has the fight for more women in politics plateaued?

Updated: Jul 31, 2019

With his arms crossed and eyes down, the police officer was finishing writing a ticket for a parked car when asked what he believes the role is for women in politics. “Women in politics? What do you want me to answer about women in politics?” asked James Oliver.

Oliver slowly started to explain that he believes “the majoring of women should outnumber the majority of men in politics because they are better thinkers, smarter and more passionate.”

The officer didn’t change his stern look when he began listing off his wife's accomplishments in her teaching career in all girls schools.

“Why would I not want more women in politics?,” asked Oliver. “I think every woman should be in politics.”

Despite the desire for more women to take leadership positions, Washington Post headline read:“For every women in political office in the United States, there are three men.” The knowledge that there are less women in politics today is common, but for many the need and desire is personal.

Elon University Junior Georgia Smith said the climate for women wanting to be in office and who are currently in office is “intimidating,” but the lack of representation isn’t surprising.

“When men who are trying to be welcoming or understanding to women can come off as patronizing,” said Smith. “I would like to see women in politics be treated as less of a joke.”

Smith explained that politicians have been constant role models for her, and to see so few women be able to be her role model isn’t a fair representation of the U.S. “There shouldn’t just be one type of person,” said smith.

“Women have a different perspective and viewpoint,” said Elon Senior Caroline Hartshorn. “There are so many women in the world and we need someone to represent us and our ambitions and futures.”

Hartshorn sees the unproportional representation and says it's a battle of time. “Men have always held higher positions,” said Hartshorn. “That makes it difficult for women interested in joining the field find their place.”

“Today I think there are more changes happening,” said Hartshorn. “Did you know there is a transgender women in the Virginia House? Women are fighting more and I think they are being empowered to take on these roles and make a difference.”

“At the same time as change is coming, it's harder,” said Hartshorn. “A lot of people don’t want to put themselves through that, especially if they are just going to get abused mentally and emotionally.”

Oliver laughs when he explains why more women don’t hold political positions, “Well… because this is American,” he finally concluded. Oliver explained that his view of America is a place were minorities have the same opportunities, and maybe never will.

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