These days, women are finally making their mark in elected houses and legislatures around the country. It’s seen as a serious advancement since the days of old white men in differing grey suits as the only variety on a ballot.
A recent article in Yahoo news quoted University of Mary Washington’s Rosalyn Cooperman observations about how far women have come, but also how much further there is to go.
“The attention has been on the record numbers who are running and to the message being sent by those sheer numbers,” says Rosalyn Cooperman, associate professor of political science at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Va. “But what kind of change this brings depends not only on who runs and who wins, but how they navigate the rigid political institutions” they are being elected to.
But now that women are inching closer to equal on the ballot – it’s once they achieve electoral victory that a whole other gender gap reveals itself.
Cooperman recently observed the Virginia House of Delegates where 12 were women were elected to the first time.
“More than half of the incoming freshmen were relegated to the science and technology committee, a committee with a light workload and limited jurisdiction,” Cooperman wrote in an article for the website Gender Watch 2018. “The lone Republican woman freshman was assigned to House finance.
“Democratic women (and men) delegates,” she continued, “also saw most of their sponsored bills killed in Republican-dominated committees.” For instance, Danica Roem, who broke barriers by being the first transgender candidate delegate in the assembly, saw all 11 of her proposed bills die before leaving committee or even subcommittee. Of all the bills filed by the 16 freshman Democrats, 85 percent never made it to a floor vote.
So, is this just a matter of newcomers that need to learn the fine art of politics and horse-trading or is there a deeper issue? Is politics still a ‘man’s game’ and if so what will it take to change it?
That’s where our experts can help. Dr. Rosalyn Cooperman's expertise focuses on women in politics. She is available to speak with media regarding this issue in America. Simply click on Rosalyn’s icon to arrange an interview.
Rosalyn Cooperman Professor of Political Science
Dr. Cooperman's expertise focuses on women in politics.