Tuesday, June 20, 2006

American Woman, Said Get Away...

Found this rather eye-catching little item in the back of the newspaper today:
Women achieving more politically in many nations other than U.S.

Associated Press Writer

June 20, 2006, 3:36 AM EDT

NEW YORK -- For all the talk about Hillary Rodham Clinton and Condoleezza Rice battling for the presidency in 2008, the closest a woman has come to the Oval Office is actress Geena Davis, star of the recently canceled TV series "Commander in Chief."

Yet, in other nations, a female leader isn't just the stuff of television drama.

Countries as diverse as Britain, Chile, Liberia and Israel have elected women to their highest political office. When it comes to female representation in national parliaments, the U.S. ranks 68th in the world.

A primary reason for the success of women in politics elsewhere, according to one observer, is the effort on the part of women themselves.

"Women in other countries have made more strong-willed efforts than we have," said Marie Wilson, head of the New York-based White House Project, a nonpartisan group that works to increase women's participation in politics. "They have gelled with each other to say: 'We know women matter in these positions. We must have more women."'
That's an interesting conclusion. Many in this country would blame the patriarchy (and clearly, that is a large obstacle to women or any minority). But how much is it the patriarchy and how much is it the culture of American women? And then, why?

Congress is made up about 85-15 men to women, and in fact, fewer women are running this year for Congress than in 1992. The most visible women in this country, Hillary Clinton and Condoleeza Rice, are discounted as presidential candidates precisely because of their gender.

Even Iraq and Afghanistan have more women serving in government than America!

Other countries, notably in the Third World, have mandated quotas for women representatives in government, but many of these, particularly in Latin America, have lapsed and yet women still serve and in far larger proportions than in America.

Why is it that this, the richest, most advanced country, can't even keep up with Rwanda in women representation?

Now, I have some of the brightest women on the planet reading this blog.

Have at it. Go read the article, then come back here and discuss. I'll stay out of the thread entirely, except to read your responses.