The good news is the Senate has more women in it than ever before. The bad news is that number is pretty likely to go down in the future.
A new study shows that female college students are far less interested in pursuing a career in politics than college men are. The study surveyed over 2000 college age students and found that double the number of men had considered running for political office than the number of women. Two-thirds of women never considered a career in politics versus just under half for men.
This is striking given that more women vote than men in presidential elections. The study identifies several factors that could be contributing to the stark contrast between men and women:
– parental influence in choosing a career for women
– less political information exposure in school for women
– less women play sports than men
– women are far less likely to be encouraged to run for political office
– women think they are not qualified to run for a political office
These factors could definitely be contributing to the huge disparity between men and women in politics. Another huge potential influence could be the way that women in politics are portrayed.
Sarah Palin was mocked and is still mocked ruthlessly. Comedians have referred to her with sexist insults that would never be tolerated in a workplace. On the other side of the political isle, you have leaders like Nancy Pelosi. She may care deeply about our country, but she isn’t exactly someone that women would aspire to become. Compare these with President Obama or President Bush. College men can definitely look up to them as role models.
It’s probably a complicated mix of many factors, but there definitely is a huge gender gap when it comes to political aspirations. Let’s hope that gap closes as those college students get older. We want all citizens to be active. Not just the men.