Effectof Gender Roles to the United States Elections
History of political gender inequality in the United States.
Examination of Gender stereotyping.
Observations of campaign experts.
The influence of gender on the strategy of campaigns.
Genderroles are the distinct patterns of interest, personality traits,attitudes, mannerisms, and behaviors associated with ‘male’ or‘female’ by culture. The roles are a product of an individual’supbringing and do not always relate to gender identity. Researchindicates that an individual’s gender roles depend on genetics andone’s natural environment. Specifically, gender responsibilitiesalter with the changes within a person’s society. Traditions linkmen to goal-oriented behaviors and females to emotional character.However, they do not imply that a reverse of behaviors is bad(Dittmar par. 1).
Thehistory of the United States indicates that before the year 1920,women did not participate in political elections (19th Amendmentpar. 1). After attaining the right to vote, the influence of women inpolitics has grown over the years. In 1981, Justice-Sandra dayO’Connor became the first female judge of the Supreme Court afterPresident Ronald Reagan appointed her to the position (FormerSecretaries of States par.59). In 1997, Madeline Albright became thefirst woman secretary of state appointed to office by President BillClinton (Former Secretaries of States 64). Later, Condoleezza Riceoccupied the post after her appointment by President Bush. HillaryClinton succeeded Condoleezza Rice (Former Secretaries of States par.67).
In2008, women took the center stage of elections when Hillary Clintonran for Democratic Party nominations against President Barack Obama.Currently, she is the thirty-fifth woman to run for the post of theUS presidency. The first woman to run for presidency was VictoriaWood Hull in the year 1872 and 1892 (Johnson par. 1).
HilaryClinton received various remarks about her chances of winning theelections as well as criticisms about her sexual power. The democratsclaim she is too intimidating to win the coming presidential election(Riddell par.21).Others have criticized her body, pantsuit as well asher cosmetic surgery. Additional commentaries on the role of genderoccurred in the year 2008 after John McCain nominated Sarah Palinfrom Alaska as a presidential running mate (Hanley par.10). Thecommentaries display the attitude of voters towards femalecontestants. Voters’ criticism of the contestants dressing stylesinstead of their political opinions is an indication of sexism and afurther violation of their rights (Hanley par. 10).
Inher article, “How Donald Trump handed Hillary Clinton the `WomanCard` And the Election,” Margie Omero points out that DonaldTrump (the 2017 Republican Presidential candidate) is likely to losebecause he lacks the support of women(Omero par.4). The authorasserts that Trump has a “woman problem”, which makes him unableto impress female voters (Omero par.3). He has claimed, during thecampaigns that his chances of winning would be high, in case, hisopponent would be a woman. He considers women as weak contestantsthat lack the capacity for US presidency. While Trump’s bias onwomen may earn him male votes, he will end up losing the support,especially, for married women in both Republican and Democraticparties (Omero par.6).
Onthe contrary, Kenneth Walsh attributes gender politics as Clinton’spillar for winning the race to the White House. Throughout hercollege and U.S politics, she has been a strong supporter of women’srights. Consequently, she has won the female votes, especially, thesupport of the feminists. Also, Trump’s alleged disrespect forwomen has boosted Clinton’s support for male voters who loathe themale chauvinism the candidate portrays by describing women as weakopponents (Walsh par. 8). Going by the historical statistics,political and gender stereotyping lowers the likelihood of a womanwinning the U.S presidential elections despite the increased rate ofwomen participation in politics.
AResearch on the outcome of the 2006 national elections indicated thatvoters expected men to carry out their presidential duties betterthan they expected women, irrespective of their politicalaffiliations (Cohn and Livingstone par.1). However, the votersrecognized that women contenders were more educationally competentand had better leadership exposure than their male counterparts (Cohnand Livingstone par. 3).The results substantiated that gender is adominant status that people identify with. In politics, women areexpected to serve as a political demographic. Specifically, theirroles in politics are associated with children or education. Suchroles are used to unite women as a voting bloc with similar views.During the 2006 elections, political strategists observed that thereexists a female vote as revealed by the ‘Women for Obama’ and‘Women for Romney’ groups (Cohn and Livingstone par. 6).
Therole of gender is further rooted in the prospects and behaviors ofpolitical contestants. In the past, political analysts referred tocampaigns by using masculine words such as ‘wars’ or ‘battlesthat required fighting and winning’. The use of such words is dueto the political history of campaigns being dominated by the malegender. Consequently, women politicians enter the game of campaignsas deviations from the norm. In other words, the expectations byvoters and politicians are that it takes masculine strength to fightand win the elections. Therefore, female politicians face additionalchallenges in convincing the voters. Specifically, they find it hardto change the voters’ perceptions about the feminine behavior andthe possible hindrances it might have on women’s ability to handlethe presidential post. Gendered expectations make it hard for womento convince the voters that they meet the same standards, and possessthe same abilities, as their male contestants (Howard par.19).
Campaignprofessionals are consultants that make their living from planning,running and providing advice to political candidates. According tothe consultants, there is gender dynamics involved in the conduct ofcampaigns. For instance, gender stereotype is strong in theelectorate. According to gender dynamics, female candidates appear ascompassionate and emotional while their male competitors areassertive and bold. Female aspirants are also associated witheducation, family policy and healthcare. In, contrast, men areassociated with defense and national security. Consequently, thecampaign experts use the voter expectations to shape and track downthe campaigns. For example, consultants who view that voters regardfemale contestants as honest and ethical, design their campaigns toreflect honesty. Consequently, the female contestants fail todemonstrate the assertive part of their characters (Dittmar par.3).
Accordingto Dittmar Kelly, gender is one of the least factors that shape thesuccess of an election. Among the most influential factors, includemoney, political affiliations and the climate. The inclusion of womenin statewide campaigns is mainly for ensuring that elections do notend up as decisive after victory or defeat. The voter characteristicsare comprised of higher demands for bold and tough candidates.Consequently, practitioners devise ways for female candidates tomaximize their traits of authenticity through ensuring a politicalchange and dependability. Based on the high voters’ expectations,female candidates are required to go an extra mile to prove suchtraits as credentials to hold the president’s office (Dittmar par.3)
Secondly,male candidates use the image of family differently from their femalecolleagues. For example, male politicians use their better halves towin the women’s vote. In contrast, female contestants do not usetheir husbands to obtain the male votes. Besides, female opponentsattract further public scrutiny of their families and physicalappearance that requires more preparation as compared to the men(Dittmar par. 4)
Aboutattracting women voters, female candidates devise ways to amplifytheir alleged advantage. In contrast, male contestants devisestrategies to balance for their apparent disadvantage with the femalevoters (Dittmar par. 4). In terms of criticism, female contestantscan negatively attack their male opponents to indicate a sense oftoughness. In contrast, negative attacks by male counterparts aresigns of bullying or sexism (Dittmar par. 5). Consequently, malecompetitors are more cautious when attacking female candidates. Theymind both the style and the substance the attack addresses. However,the voters interpret the use of various condemnations by the male andfemale contestants differently. The male contestant, by refrainingfrom insulting the female counterpart, appears sympathetic while thefemale contestant is viewed as ferocious (Dittmar (PGW) par.4).
Conclusively,the United States of America has witnessed a growth in the rateof women participation in politics in the 21st century. Since 1920,when women were first allowed to vote, they have emerged to lead inprominent offices in both the corporate and government sectors.Moreover, women have also proven that they are equally efficient ingovernance similar to their male opponents. Unfortunately, genderstereotyping lowers the likelihood of women winning the presidentialelections despite the increased rate of participation in the UnitedStates of America’s politics (Dittmar par. 4).
Despitethe development of women’s leadership capabilities, gender seems tohold back their efforts in furthering their growth. Specifically, theview of the voters is that women are emotional and compassionate ascompared to their male candidates who are bold and assertive.Therefore, due to their gender, women are associated with leadershippositions that entail the family, education and health policiescompared to their male counterparts that are associated withpositions that involve defense, security and overall leadership.Gender profiling of the voters plays a big role in determining theirchoice of a leader (Dittmar (PGW) par.3).
Thegender affiliation makes female contestants appear inferior despitetheir proven leadership and political achievements. Besides, gendershapes the campaigns of contestants. Female competitors face the needto go an extra mile to convince voters that they are bettercandidates than their male colleagues are. Specifically, thedifficulty faced by female contestants is due to the voter’sperception that leaders should be bold a characteristic associatedwith the male contenders (Ditmar par. 5).
Genderalso affects the design of campaigns. The campaigns for femalecandidates aim at amplifying feminine characteristics. Again, womenfail to demonstrate their assertiveness as demanded by the voters.Gender also determines the image of a campaign. Male contestants arefond of using their wives to win votes from women groups. Incontrast, Women candidates rarely use their husbands to attract theattention of the male voters. They also fail to convince women fullyto vote for them (Dittmar par. 4)
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Walsh,Kenneth T. “Hillary Clinton Carries Mantle of Gender in 2016: HerPresidential Quest Could Be A Referendum On Women`s Rights.” U.SNews. 2 May 2016. Web.25 May 2016.<http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/ken-walshs-washington/2015/04/13/hillary-clinton-carries-mantle-of-gender-in-2016>