Essay about The Underrepresentation of Women in United States Politics

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The Underrepresentation of Women in United States Politics
I. Introduction and Context
Women are numerically underrepresented in United States politics. Though people may see famous faces of women in politics around them, a mere 17 percent of leaders of the Federal government in the United States are women. Not only, at the Federal level are women underrepresented, but also at the state and local levels. Only in six states are there female governors, and members of city hall are predominately male in 92 out of the 100 largest cities in the continental U.S. Since the 1970’s the percentage of women in high political offices had been increasing, but in the last several election cycles there has been no net increase. The United States House
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Potential female candidates perceive American politics as biased and sexist, because of the media perpetuating sexism. This gender gap calls into question the political validity of the United States government, since it fails to represent all people.
II. Literature Review
Meanwhile, political researchers debate whether the political glass ceiling for women has been shattered, and why or why not. The United States has not achieved political parity yet says Marie Cocco. She argues that even though Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin ran high profile campaigns in the 2008 election, neither was elected. She says, “The glass ceiling remains firmly in place—not cracked, as Hillary Clinton insisted as she tried to claim rhetorical victory after her defeat in the Democratic nominating contest. It wasn't even scratched with the candidacy of Sarah Palin as the Republican vice presidential nominee—unless you consider becoming an object of national ridicule to be a symbol of advancement.”(Cocco) Kate Heimer, a political researcher, argues that the media undermines female candidate’s electability. Heimer describes female media stories “those that trivialize female politicians by focusing on their clothing, hair, or taste in home decor, and those that position gender as her most important characteristic, playing on gender stereotypes in order to call into question her ability to provide strong, effective leadership.” She cites the medias sexist hazing of Hillary Clinton and
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