Women in Comparative Societies

Women in Politics


Measures of womenÕs political behavior

     Interest in politics

     Voluntarism, work in non-profit sector



Gender Gap

          Super Tuesday 2008    

     Running for office

     Attaining political office

     If women have ever attained a nationÕs highest

     Political offices

     Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)



     Governor Christine Gregoire (GU Law Alumna!!)


Congressperson Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Spokane!!)



     State Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown (D-Spokane!!)



In comparative politics, most common measure used to gauge and compare womenÕs political power is:


     Proportion of women serving in parliaments,

Typically the lower/only house


This data is compiled by the WomenÕs Inter-Parliamentary Union

(See also Rutgers Center for American Women in Politics site for current office holders, historical figures, state-by-state lists)


See IPU site for global average, regional averages, data on US other individual


Where does the US fall globally?



Why?  Why, given all the opportunities American women have are there not more women in Congress, women presidents?


Institutional Factors

     Presidential vs. parliamentary systems


     Former British PM Margaret Thatcher



German Chancellor Angela Merkel    




Quotas/seats reserved for women

     Party based quotas/incentives


Sociological Factors (see Elder article)

     Women/girls interest in politics

     Feelings of political efficacy/electability

     Gender role socialization

e.g. is politics an appropriate career for women,

a manÕs game, etc.

     Lack of role models


What does Elder find in testing these sociological hypotheses?


Structural Factors

     Women under-represented in professions,

careers that most often lead to careers in politics


Situational Factors

WomenÕs disproportionate responsibility for children, family in actual time/energy available for politics


AND women choosing NOT to run because they anticipate these responsibilities, donÕt want them to conflict


What does Elder find here?



What about you?


Have you considered a career in politics? Would you like to be a member of Congress, president?  Did you ever but change your mind?





Obama example: