All Articles Tagged "women in politics"
If Sarah Palin were a sexually transmitted disease, she would be herpes. Not that I think she is a nasty, scabby wart that comes with a reoccurring itch, but just like the STD, just when you think Palin is gone, here she comes again to seriously mess up your day.
That may sound a bit extreme – and graphic – but so is the attention this woman has gotten from the mainstream press. Point blank—the media is mind-numbingly, compulsively obsessed with this woman. More often than not, this circus surrounding Palin goes beyond inflammatory and lands squarely on absurd. On one hand, those within the so-called liberal media declare that Palin has no credibility, but then on the other hand, they go to great lengths to share with us, the unwilling viewers, every mundane moment of the Palin clan’s existence.
This is no exaggeration—at last count, Yahoo News has printed 972 Palin stories, The New York Times weighs in at 696 articles and CNN outdoes them both with a whopping 3,032 entries on Palin alone. Damn, that’s a lot articles about the latest on what Palin tweeted.
It’s been more than three years since Palin was Sen. John McCain’s vice-presidential candidate. It has been reported that McCain may have met Palin only twice during the campaign season—once in February of 2008 at the governors’ convention in Washington the day before he selected her as his running mate; and a second time at his Arizona ranch on Aug. 28 just four days before the GOP convention.
No one knows for sure why McCain chose Palin as his VP nominee other than to play Vanna White to his public persona as a tough-as-nails maverick and American war hero. At first, Palin was good comic relief. Between her core value cheat sheet—which had been scribbled on her hand—the gaffe about North Korea being our allies and the made up words, Palin was like George Bush, but in a skirt and lipstick.
But after a while, the jokes tend to run their course and it’s time to move on to more important matters. Yet, the hysteria surrounding Palin in the press has not settled down and is on par with the Charlie Sheen and Lindsey Lohan mania we have been experiencing for months. Despite questions about her intelligence and capability to be taken serious as a political figure, we the viewers are still treated to daily news stories about whether or not she is going to run for office. Why is that?
Some could argue that Palin is a populist political figure that is transforming the political landscape. For example, her direct influence has contributed to moderate republicans loosing elections in favor of Palin-endorsed Tea Party candidates such as Allen West. However, her favorable polling numbers are only around 28 percent, suggesting that her support among conservatives may have peaked a while ago.
In my opinion, there is something highly sexual about this entire Palin-phenomenon. She is similar to the Kristy Snow of politics—a pretty woman that says mindless Shyte from time to time, but she looks good in an American flag draped two-piece bikini. Those within the media may mildly chastise her sometimes, but all she has to do is flirtatiously bat her eyes – or in this case, give that trademark wink – and out comes a big puddle of muddled news stories, while reporters drool over – and wait to print – the next dumb thing she says or does.
Whether we like it or not, it’s Palin’s world and we are just the fat plain Janes politically cock-blocking her way to the top. Even Palin is wise to the game—in one moment she is coyly pondering why the press seems so “infatuated” by her, yet in the next moment, she is daring the press to “catch me if you can.” This abnormal relationship between Palin and the press certainly gives new meaning to the term “media Slore,” in which the media acts like a trick willing to pay Palin for a few moments of sensation, and like any prostitute transaction, it’s a win-win situation for both parties. Unfortunately, it’s the rest of us who must consistently deal with the reoccurring itch.
Charing Ball is the author of the blog People, Places & Things.
Yesterday, I was forced to repeatedly listen to Beyoncé’s new single, “Run the World (Girls),” thanks to a precocious teenager who insisted on playing the song ad-nasuem. Don’t get me wrong—I’m not hatin’ on Beyoncé. The song has catchy lyrics and a sick beat. But after hearing it for the eighth time, I was pretty much ready to bang my head against the wall to the rhythm of the song. Yet at some point during the ninth replay of the song, I began to wonder if there was some legitimacy to Beyoncé’s girl-power anthem: do girls, also known as women, really run the world?
There is a really compelling argument to make that women may have finally achieved a power advantage in society. In an article written last year for The Atlantic, writer Hanna Rosin discussed the global economy’s shift to favoring “female” characteristics while male-dominated industries, such as manufacturing, construction and finance, are declining.
The U.S. Department of Labor seems to support Rosin’s argument. Statistics show that women comprised 46.8 percent of the total U.S. labor force in 2009, and are projected to account for 46.9 percent of the labor force in 2018. Women have also made great strides in management, professional and related occupations with 40 percent being employed. Also, for the first time in history, more women have college degree than our male counterparts.
Yes, Virginia Slims; we have come a long way, baby.
While there is no doubt that woman have made some gains in society, there is still a fair amount of inequality that women face in the workplace and in society at large. The biggest obstacle is the earnings gap between men and women. Women are likely to earn only 77.5-80 cents for every dollar that men earn for the same work—and that number decreases if you are a woman of color. Although economists who predicted that the income gap would decrease, it has actually stayed that same with no movement. In fact, 59 percent of working women are making less than $8 an hour.
Despite Beyoncé’s assertion that “we give birth to children then get back to business,” as a result of the economic recession, single women with children became the poorest group in this country. In 2009, of those households that lived in poverty, 29.9 percent were headed by single women, compared to 16.9 percent of single men and 5.8 percent of married couples. Unfortunately, very little is being done to assist households led by single mothers to retain their places in the workforce. Despite the financial hardships that come with the new arrival of a child, many employers still do not provide women with any benefits if they need to leave work temporarily.
Globally, women account for two-thirds of the world’s 774 million illiterate adults. In some parts of the world, women and girls bear the brunt of poverty. Their lack of control over resources, including land and other types of property, has limited their economic autonomy, which has made them the most vulnerable group to economic or environmental issues.
Back in the U.S., a woman is assaulted or beaten every nine seconds. Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women—more than care accidents, muggings and rapes combined – and every day, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends. Around the world, at least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime. Most often, the abuser is a member of her own family.
Despite the fun posturing in the “Run The World” song, the reality is still much closer to the words of James Brown, in that it’s still a “man’s world.” By the way, out of all the world leaders currently in power, only 20 of them are women. Though it has been a record-breaking year for women in power, it’s still not enough to actually rule the world.
Charing Ball is the author of the blog People, Places & Things.
(Montgomery Advisor) — Terri Sewell stood out last month among the newly elected congressional lawmakers waiting to be sworn in inside the House chamber. Almost everyone in the crowd was white and male. Not Sewell, who made history that day as the first black woman from Alabama to take the congressional oath of office.
Fifteen black women are serving in the House this Congress, which ties the record set by the 110th Congress that convened in January 2007. There are no black women in the Senate. Black women are increasingly winning at the state level as well. After last year’s elections, the number serving in state legislatures also reached a record — 238, an increase of 12 from the year before.
Sewell’s win underscores the gains made by black women seeking elected office, but it’s also a reminder of how long it’s taken to achieve those gains, black lawmakers and political experts say. ”We’ve come a long way, (but) we’re obviously not where we need to be,” Sewell said. “We need more women. We need more minorities. We need more diversity in electoral politics.”
by H. Fields Grenee
Statistically, a woman has to be asked seven different times to run for a political office before she will seriously consider throwing her hat into the ring – seven different times.
When the average women pursues a political office; be it a local school board, county elected position, statewide or national office – they tend to do so after there children are grown. Whereas men, because they have assistance with family obligations, tend to just wake up one morning and decide they are ready.
“When women have to be asked multiple times to run for a position, it takes on the equivalent of being drafted,” stated Malia Cohen, an African American candidate for the District 10, San Francisco Board of Supervisors; a position similar to a county board and regional aldermanic member. “Women do not self select to run for office whereas men do. We still have challenges with breaking into the old boy network,” said Cohen, who as a single female is bucking the trend by applying for her first office while still in her early thirties.
Hopefully groups like Emerge California (part of Emerge America) and its affiliates are sculpting more diversity into the existing political landscape. Emerge California; a political training program from which Cohen graduated, is nationally recognized for its commitment to honing the skills of Democratic women to pursue and achieve political office.
Founded in 2002, Emerge California is among the oldest female-specific political training programs in the country (including those funded by the DNP). It also represents the only successfully duplicated training model nationwide. By focusing on a long term investment in its graduates, Emerge California’s seven month training program develops applicants’ political and media skills, expands their knowledge of local issues, connects them with mentors, and provides them with savvy fund-raising experience.
As a single woman who has never run for office, Cohen feels the Emerge California training program provided her candidacy with creditability. “(Emerge) laid the foundation for a solid base to fundraise from and provided a network of politically savvy, engaged women to brainstorm and structure ideas,” Cohen explained.
Despite Emerge America’s advances during the past eight years, the perception that men have more credibility then women when running for a political office still exists. A belief that often leads to campaign contributors holding back funding based on the bias – if she is here, then who’s taking care of her children – a thought that bears no consideration when men run for office. The breath of this unspoken bias now really lays siege when you contemplate the staggeringly low number of minority women who have achieved a national political office.