Sex, Gender and Politics
In the current generation where the role of the woman has been demystified, politics has been configured to gender appealing manifestos such as promoting maternal healthcare and childcare so as to woo women electorate. Gender beliefs and have also been used negatively in smear campaigns and political witch-hunt. The role of gender in politics has transpired from a male dominated industry into an inclusive affair of both genders to both the electorate and the candidates.
Previous research findings have indicated that women get involved actively in non-institutionalised type of politics such as ‘political consumerism and boycotts’ whereas men participate more in institutionalised approaches such as being in ‘political party membership and holding political office (Coffe & Bolzendhal, 2010; Jennings & Niemi, 1981).
The role of the female gender in politics has therefore been constant in driving political accountability and in agitating for various rights that benefit both the male and female gender. This has spiralled to the acceptability of women in active politics in the United States of America. Since 1920 when women were first accepted to participate in voting process in United States of America, more women have joined political affiliations to the extent of occupying senatorial seats and even vying for presidency.
This political consumerism has also driven the role of women in politics to be manipulated by some who wish to capitalize on the female vote. It is generally believed that including females in the grassroots political campaign is bound to create more impact for the candidate. This is because women generally have more social ties and forums that can be utilised for snowball recruitment of manpower.
Unfortunately, some ill-begotten attempts, such as Senator McCain’s campaign misrepresentation of Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton’s campaign missteps of modelling the Iron lady, has created a hurdle that future political candidates vying for the highest office in the land will have to overcome.
However, gender isn’t the only important aspect in understanding political behaviour. Current racial awareness, racial composition and intellectual ability as seen during campaign debates held across states by aspirants have been factors determining political behaviour and attitude of voters. Currently, the growing composition of voters in United States of America include Natives, African Americans, Hipics, Asians and other immigrants also serve as major voting blocks. This is because of the different social issues that affect the various races, and hence political solutions are the normally preferred mode of addressing these issues (Goldstone, et al., 2012).
Another demographic consideration that politics in the United States feeds from is the age disparities. The youth, the middle-aged and the elderly have different social needs that can be addressed with policies derivable from political inclinations. These divergent needs champion the political manifestos as politicians seek to strike balances between the different demographics. These demographics serve as swing regions in American politics.
In summation, it is my opinion that the acceptability of women in political and institutional power will enable the United States to one day have a female president, vice-president and/or Supreme Court Justice. Leaders such as Hillary Rodham Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Sarah Palin, Condoleezza Rice, among others, have set the precedent and hopefully, the leadership mantle of the United States will soon be borne by a woman. These women and others, who have been elected to public office, have cracked the glass ceiling and through them, women are continuing to use feminism to fight against socialization, along with teaching the value and appreciation for the gender gap and the female voter.
Coffe, H., & Bolzendhal. (2010). Same game different rules?Gender differences in political participation. Sex Roles, 318-333.
In Goldstone, J. A., In Kaufmann, E. P., & In Toft, M. D. (2012). Political demography: How population changes are reshaping international security and national politics. New York: Oxford University Press.
Jenning, M., & Niemi, R. (1987). Who votes? Hew Hven: Yale University Press.
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