The AP news article reprinted in the Arizona Daily Star today (“Even untainted by scandal, women lag noticeably in electoral sphere”) discusses why less women run for political office. (click here):
The number of women in Congress has plateaued since 2007, with just 17 women in the 100-member Senate and 72 in the 435-member House. In state legislatures nationwide, 1,738 lawmakers are women, compared with 1,809 last year, and the percentage of women holding statewide office has fallen from 27.6 percent in 2001 to 21.9 percent today. Just six states have female governors.
We are one of those states with a woman Governor, Jan Brewer, who just won her own term in November, 2010 after taking over in January 2009 when then-Governor Janet Napolitano left to become head of federal Homeland Security. Brewer is a Republican and Napolitano is a Democrat.
I wrote about women candidates in last year’s Arizona elections (click here) and many women ran for almost all races in the legislature and state-wide offices.
In the current 2011 election for the City of Tucson, only one woman (Mary DeCamp, a Green Party member) is running for Mayor. Councilmembers Karin Uhlich (Ward 3) and Shirley Scott (Ward 4) were considering bids for Mayor as well, but opted to stay in their Council seats. In Wards 1, 2 and 4, women are running: Democratic Councilmember Regina Romero for re-election, Republican challenger Jennifer Rawson, and Democratic Councilmember Shirley Scott for re-election.
On the Southern Arizona legislative front there are several women politicians: LD 25 Senator Gail Griffin (R), LD 25 House Rep. Peggy Judd (R), LD 26 House Rep. Terri Proud (R), LD 27 Senator Olivia Cajero Bedford (D), LD 27 House Rep. Sally Ann Gonzales (D), LD 28 Senator Paula Aboud (D), LD 29 Senator Linda Lopez (D). And CD 8 is represented in U.S. Congress by Democrat Gabrielle Giffords, who is recovering from that tragic shooting on January 8, 2011.
I think women don’t run because politics is still perceived as a “dirty game”, with long hours and often disagreeable constituents and issues. Plus women may still have to multi-task with children, meal preparation/housework, etc.
What do you think readers? The AP article goes on to say that perhaps more women should run for office, due to the number of recent sex scandals involving male politicians (i.e. former VP candidate/U.S. Senator John Edwards, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Congressman Anthony Weiner). The assumption there is that perhaps women politicians wouldn’t fall prey to sexual temptations or scandals.