Social class, status, and power are predetermined by one’s gender. Within today’s patriarchal society, men simply possess greater power than women, “and enjoy greater access to what is valued by the social group.” (Code 1993, 19) Patriarchal thought produces male dominance, and authority within multiple areas, including politics. Throughout history, governments have designed laws to maintain such divisions of power, resulting in the oppression of women. “Patriarchal power relations construct sexual differences as political differences by giving legal form to the belief that women, because of their sex, are fit only to serve as wives and mothers.” (Vickers 1997, 8) One must question how women can achieve greater influence within the male political arena if they are not viewed as equal? How are determined women attempting to change their position within society, regarding politics? Multiple changes have been made throughout history regarding the place of women in society, but are they leading towards equality?
The main goal of the women’s movement was basic citizenship rights for women. For decades, many of the first women’s groups strived for their civil, and political rights as women. Their central focus was the right to vote, and the right to run for office. The purpose was to claim a role in democratic politics. Many believed that in order to attain political goals, the right to vote was vital. The women’s movement “has touched the lives of many Canadian women, radically transforming the nature of their everyday experiences.” (Burt 1993, 9) Women assumed that once the right to vote was granted, equality in the eyes of males was soon to follow, along with their new influence within politics.
This essay examines the issue of women in politics and discusses how women entered the political arena, how they got where they are; how they might rise higher; and how they're doing. It discusses the State of Michigan in some detail.IIntroductionThe stated subject of this paper is the “revolution” of women in politics. The word makes it sound as though women's entry into the political arena is ...
After the right to federal franchise for women was established, females continued to be disqualified from positions within the Senate because they were not considered qualified “persons” as defined by the British North America (BNA) Act. (Burt 1993, 246) It was not until 1929 when five women from Alberta disputed the BNA Act, and the British Judicial Committee of the Privy Council determined that women be recognized as “persons” within the law.
Soon, it became apparent that legal rights alone would not be enough for women to acquire an impressive influence within politics. Within the nineteen sixties, and seventies, women continued to remain fixtures within the second-class, and unable to alter their status. “Women still performed most of the domestic duties; could not find adequate, affordable child care; were woefully under-represented in politics; earned a fraction of the pay men earned; faced spousal abuse, sexual assault, and sexual harassment; and had no legal access to birth control.” (Brodie 1995, 70) Many of these issues remained unimportant to politicians, and decision makers, as they did not directly affect them. Multiple women’s groups began demanding care for their children, equal pay, unrestrictive employment legislation, and the termination of sex-role stereotyping in schools, and by mass media. (Code 1993, 63-64) Once it became evident that the government was not concerned with women’s rights, groups began to form in an attempt to correct the setback. Some women’s groups made demands on the state; others provided services for women; others offered solidarity based on ethnicity, class, ideology, sexual orientation, and disability. (Burt 1993, 2000)
Decades full of protests for women’s rights created several political gains, as well as improvements in their status; however, inequality remained. Women’s beliefs that political rights would lead to equal opportunity, were overshadowed by the reality that their inequality resulted in their lack of influence within politics. Multiple policies and laws may have been created or changed in an attempt to improve women’s role in society, but economic dependence, and physical reliance on men continued as issues. Women remained underrepresented within politics, holding fewer than twenty percent of federal, and provincial elected offices in Canada. (Arscott 1998, 272) “In 1998, only fourteen percent of provincially appointed judges, and twenty percent of justices appointed by the federal government were women.” (Arscott 1998, 274) Eliminating women from political positions hindered their ability to become a valid influence within the political arena.
Woman and Political status According to UN women executive Michelle Bachelet (2012), ‘’Democracy grows stronger with the full and equal participation of women”. Today, as women form half of the world population, their voices are still lacking in politics. According to UN women (2011), worldwide, less than one in five members of most parliaments is a woman. And women make up less than 10 percent ...
Unequal pay, workplace harassment, and discrimination continued to plague women in the work force. Statistics Canada released a report, Women in Canada, in 2000, detailing women’s position in society. In 1999, seventy percent of women were employed in clerical or administrative positions; teaching, nursing, and health occupations; and sales, and service occupations. (“Women in Canada” 2000) The report also confirmed that women’s income remained drastically lower than men’s. Many believe that the variance between wages is due to the fact that forty-one percent of women are employed in part-time, or temporary positions; however, those employed in full-time positions only earn seventy-three percent of what male employees make. Women occupy only twenty-two percent of the country’s highest paying jobs, but hold sixty-eight percent of the lowest paying jobs. (“Women in Canada” 2000) With the lack of women in high profile positions, and the belief that women are not as valuable as men, they continue to provide no bearing on the political aspects of society.
Women continue to receive less in our patriarchal society. “Women have less political power, fewer economic resources, less security, and lower status that do men.” (Brodie 1995, 3) This continues regardless of decades dedicated to movements for women’s rights, and lobbying for policies designed to alter women’s status in society. For those women who are poor, immigrant, Aboriginal, or disabled, they find themselves even more inferior than other women. Therefore, the question remains, are women equal? Simply stated, they are not equal. Women continue to fight for liberal democratic political power. Their gender continues to play a role in how society will view them, as well as their position. For centuries, power has been allotted to men, which continues to this day. Few women possess great political power due to the difficulties of obtaining customary equality within society.
In this essay I will look at whether the inequality between men and women is a human universal, or whether there are or have been societies in which women shared power equally with men, or even exercised power over them. In order to do so, I will look at the writings of a number of anthropologists. In "The Subordinance of Women: A Problematic Universal", author Ruth Bleier indicates that a central ...
In a world where men rule, how is a women able to gain great authority, and step into the political spot light? In a society where women are viewed as insignificant, how are they to influence political decision makers? The law has granted women a voice within politics; however, it remains weak and inaudible. In order for women to increase their influence in politics, they must first become equal with men. Until then, they will be viewed as inferior; therefore, not requiring influence in politics. Gradually women are gaining more power, and prestige in society. Soon, the number in high-paying jobs will increase, creating a less economically dependent gender. As women strive for these changes, men, especially politicians, will be forced to take notice. As power for women intensifies, so will their influence in politics. As the voice for women’s rights grows, so will their equality; therefore, leveling out the playing field in the political arena for both men, and women.
Arscott, Jane. 1998. In the Presence of Women: Representation in Canadian Governments. Toronto: Harcourt Brace.
Brodie, Janine. 1995. Politics on the Margins: Restructuring and the Canadian Women’s Movement. Halifax: Fernwood.
Burt, Sandra. 1993. “The Changing Patterns of Public Policy,” in Sandra Burt,
Lorraine Code, and Lindsay Dorney, eds., Changing Patterns: Women in Canada. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart.
Canada, Statistics Canada. 2000. Women in Canada, 2000. Ottawa: Statistics Canada. (http://www.statcan.ca)
Code, Lorraine. 1993. “Feminist Theory,” in Sandra Burt, Lorraine Code, and Lindsay Dorney, eds., Changing Patterns: Women in Canada. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart.
Abigail Adams was the wife of one president and wife of another. She was not just a mother and a wife, she was also very concerned with politics. Abigail often corresponded with her husband through letters, as they were often separated. The most famous of these letters was entitled Remember the Ladies. In this letter, Abigail advocated women's rights to her husband. She urged him to push the ...