At first glance, circumstances seem to be improving for women’s political advancement. Women such as Hilary Clinton and Nancy Palosi have accomplished incredible milestones toward attaining positions of influence as Secretary of State and Speaker of the House, respectfully. Not to mention their successes as United State Congresswomen. Women also are making great strides in the pursuit of education. In 2009, the National Center for Education Statistics discovered that “ 57.2 percent of Bachelor Degrees, 60.4 percent of Masters Degrees, and 52.3 percent of Doctoral Degrees awarded in the U.S. were awarded to women” (U.S. Dept.).
The Pew Research Center surveyed 2,250 participants and found that “when it comes to honesty, intelligence and a handful of other character traits they value highly in leaders, the public rates women superior to men” (Pew Research ). In the text, Women in Politics: Outsiders or Insiders, Sarah Poggione states that “increased women’s representation is expected to bring not only new issues to the attention of government but also new governmental solutions to what were previously considered individual problems” (Duke Whitaker 178). The research not only indicates women as capable leaders, but also establishes their full political incorporation as fundamental in maintaining a stable democracy.
While women have made great progress in realizing higher levels of economic stability and autonomy, a glass ceiling continues to limit the advancement of women to spheres of real political influence. As of 2014, 99 of the 535 U. S. Congressional seats were filled by women, and only 75 women on the state level currently hold elected executive positions (Center for American Women and Politics). Such statistics demonstrate that although women account for more than 50 percent of the population, they enjoy less than 20 percent of the decision making power. However, studies show that women who run for political office are just as effective as their male counterparts in regards to fundraising receipts, vote totals, and electoral success (American edu). So what’s preventing women from pursuing candidacy? Such contradictory findings may suggest a deeper relationship between gender and politics.
Gender socialization is conceptualized as the institutional structure that communicates acceptable attitudes and beliefs according to one’s sex. The World Health Organization outlines gender as “the socially constructed roles, behaviours, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for men and women” (WHO). Conversely, sex is defined as “the biological and physiological characteristics that define men and women” (WHO). Gender socialization works to categorize the world as either masculine or feminine. Roles addressing the hearth and children have been long been regulated as feminine domain, regulating women primary function as becoming a wife and mother. Conversely, masculine norms mandate that men...