By Jesse Jacobs (Manbassador)
This source reveals the disheartening but well-known fact that women make up less than twenty percent of the 114th Congress. The equal representation of women in Congress is important for many reasons, as women deserve an equal opportunity to engage in political leadership and are more likely to consider a career in politics when successful female role models exist. Perhaps most importantly, though, women leaders in Congress are necessary to lend a strong voice to issues that disproportionately affect women.
Having leaders of your own community fight for your issues on the national stage is a concern for every demographic. It is the reason that minority communities and even the greater community of Washington DC have fought for the right to have their own legitimate representatives. Representatives are supposed to fight for their constituents while understanding the background of issues that have specific repercussions or are of specific concern to this group of people. Having a leader who has been affected by a certain problem can allow them to more effectively push for reform or defend current policies on a long-term, highly dedicated basis. In terms of issues for women, there are undeniably numerous matters that are largely ignored and sidelined and discussed mainly by men, who are thus arguably less qualified to make decisions and less likely to fight for positive change on behalf of women.
I find it hard to imagine that had the 114th Congress fairly represented the US gender ratio of 51 percent women rather than its actual composition of under 20, many concerns would not have been so ignored or undervalued. These concerns, such as contraception, domestic violence, and equitable wage acts, all should be seriously discussed and actively pursued to help represent the needs of the women in America who lack the representatives in Congress to advocate for them. The current dearth of women in Congress is a problem not only because it reflects remaining obstacles to leadership and long-term careers for women, but also because it perpetuates a system in which women’s issues are speculated about and decided on by men who do not face the same personal and political realities as the women inevitably affected by the laws passed (or not passed) by Congress.
America needs a equal representation in its governing body in order to give its women a fair and equal chance to advocate for their diverse set of issues.