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Women in U.S. Politics: We’re Tied With Turkmenistan

August 27, 2010

This article was from earlier this week but I thought it was worth noting, particularly given a) Hillary Clinton has come the closest to being the U.S.’ first woman President and b) the U.S. is tied at 90th place with Turkmenistan with respect to women in national legislature:

This week marks the 90th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which gave women the right to vote.

The AP/Globe reports that only 17% of U.S. congressional seats are held by women, compared with 22% in Europe and 42% in Nordic countries. According to the Inter-Parliamentary Union, women hold 19% of the seats in national legislatures worldwide. However, the U.S. is tied with Turkmenistan at 90th out of 186 nations examined by the union, which based its percentages on women in the single or lower chamber of the legislature.

In addition, the major U.S. political parties have not nominated a woman for president, although Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton collected 18 million votes in the 2008 Democratic nomination campaign. Women have held the top government positions in “dozens” of nations, including Australia, Argentina, Germany, Great Britain, India, Israel and Turkey, the AP/Globe reports…

And here’s the clincher:

…Among the scheduled speakers is Terry O’Neill, president of the National Organization for Women, who said Ferraro’s poise and toughness had inspired many women to go into politics.

However, O’Neill described the percentage of women in Congress as “abysmal” and said the United States should be ashamed that it’s one of only seven U.N. members — in company with Iran and Sudan — that hasn’t ratified a 30-year-old women’s rights treaty, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women

What is wrong with us? We may not be stoning women in the streets but the statistics should give us pause the next time we lecture someone else about the importance of women’s equality (which includes freedom from sexual violence, something which is still so a part of our culture that we often take our own lack of safety for granted).

It still is somewhat stunning to me that in the U.S., a country that prides itself on equality, democracy and being the world’s lone superpower, we rank near the bottom of the heap when it comes to women in politics and in particular, our inability/refusal to elect a woman to the highest office in the land. Many so-called Third World countries have had women Prime Ministers/Presidents. Unless someone is really willing to argue that the reason we’ve not yet had a woman POTUS is because there are no qualified, electable women anywhere in this whole friggin’ country, one can only conclude that in the year 2010, we still have serious gender/sexism problems. I don’t want oversimplify it by distilling everything down to sexism, but lets be honest, a quick search of YouTube for clips of the 2008 election will reveal a panoply of commentary filled with sexist tripe and the target was not only Hillary Clinton but yes, at times, Sarah Palin also.

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14 Comments leave one →
  1. HillaryFan permalink
    August 27, 2010 9:07 pm

    Thanks for posting this Stacey, I hadn’t seen this.

    And I am so glad you are back (for my own selfish reasons!) but I really hope you had a great vacation!

    The sexism of the 2008 campaign was nauseating. Hillary was subjected to attacks that Obama never would have been forced to endure, media darling that he was.

    • PYW permalink
      August 27, 2010 11:03 pm

      I agree. It still burns me up how Hillary was treated. Frankly, it’s impressive she got as far as she did.

  2. Steve permalink
    August 27, 2010 9:09 pm

    Hey, not sure if you still go over to Madame Secretary regularly over at FP but someone in the comments to one of the posts recommended that YOU should take over the Hillary blog over there! I have to say I agree 100%!

    • discourseincsharpminor permalink
      August 27, 2010 10:53 pm

      I like that idea too.

      • August 28, 2010 11:36 am

        Thanks for your vote of confidence! 😉 I have to say, the Madame Secretary blog over at is prime real estate that I’d love to have, but there is no reason to think Preeti has any plans to hand it over to anyone else, least of all me, given I don’t even know her.

        One of the things that confuses me about Madame Secretary over at FP is that I don’t understand why they don’t take advantage of the bully pulpit they have over there and really use Madame Secretary to its full potential. FP gets millions of visitors and given that, I don’t understand why MS isn’t updated more frequently, other than that Preeti is obviously very busy with her editorial duties at FP.

    • Terry permalink
      August 28, 2010 3:46 pm

      I would second that since I started with that blog after Hillary became SOS but rarely go there now because they are often slow to update. I think Stacey does a much better just consistently covering the SOS and foreign policy. Maybe over at FP she could, however, get some journalistic credentials that might allow her to probe into some issues more easily. Think of the Washington party list you might added to as well.

  3. Thain permalink
    August 28, 2010 5:25 pm

    Hey Stace, can we have a photo bomb tomorrow?

    • August 28, 2010 5:26 pm

      You certainly can. I know it’s been a while so I will do one tomorrow. Actually, I started collecting photos and I am pretty excited because I found a bunch of awesome ones that I have never seen before. Now you know what floats my boat 🙂

  4. HillaryFan permalink
    August 28, 2010 6:28 pm

    Yes! Photo Bomb tomorrow! 🙂

  5. PYW permalink
    August 28, 2010 6:40 pm

    stacy, I think this belongs in the photo bomb! 🙂

  6. August 28, 2010 7:16 pm

    HA, good one! I’ll break my rule about private photos and put that in the bomb because it’s a sweet photo! 🙂

    • discourseincsharpminor permalink
      August 28, 2010 7:23 pm

      I love that photo. Bill’s face is LOL-worthy.

  7. June 22, 2013 3:02 pm

    She’s good looking that is for sure.

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