Women should fight for political power

By Jennifer Meyer

Is America ready for a woman president? That’s the question ABC’s new show, “Commander In Chief” starring Geena Davis, has raised.

The question is not, “Is America ready?” It has more to do with whether or not women are willing and encouraged to run for office. This dilemma recently has been made evident by President Bush’s nomination of Harriet Miers to Supreme Court Justice.

Bush felt pressured to replace Sandra Day O’Connor with another woman. The problem: his options of female nominees are extraordinarily limited. Therefore, he picked a less qualified female candidate over a male with more experience and expertise.

Why are so few women qualified to be nominated to the Supreme Court or president? The answer may be because of women’s inequality in politics.

According to the Center of American Women and Politics, women hold 81 out of 535 seats in Congress, 14 out of 100 seats in the Senate and 67 out of 435 seats in the House of Representatives.

Women earned the right to vote 85 years ago. Why is there still such a large disparity between women and men in the government in 2005?

It may be difficult for women to advance in the field if they face a glass ceiling. Most women are concentrated in less powerful positions. Therefore, they hold little political power and do not have the experience or resources to run for higher offices.

If women are discouraged from holding prestigious political offices, America will never see a woman president.

With women’s inequality still a problem in the political system, it may be impossible for a woman to win the presidency. However, it is rumored the 2008 presidential election will see Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton run against Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

How would the country feel about being led by a woman? Would some be appalled and flee to Canada? Would others see this as a sign of progress toward women’s equality? Perhaps with a woman president, more women will advance to higher positions not only in government, but also in corporations and businesses. The glass ceiling may cease to exist if a woman were to hold the most prestigious position in the country.

Before we can have a woman president, women need to take more of an interest in politics. There needs to be a higher representation of women voters, as well as politicians.

Voters need to take a stand and vote more women into office. Women need to take a stand and run for office. Politics is not a boy’s club anymore. There is room for women in the field, and we need to claim it.

Most people probably feel America is not ready for a woman president because they simply do not see women holding office in other positions. If there were an equal number of women and men in lower positions, it would be easier for America to accept women in higher positions.

A female president would unquestionably be a sign of progress toward gender equality in America. However, this will never be a possibility without a change of attitude from voters and politicians alike.

Columns reflect the opinion of the author and not necessarily that of the Northern Star staff.