American Women: Second Class Citizens?

In 1917, Jeannette Rankin, an avowed pacifist and member of the Republican party,[1] became the first woman elected to serve in the United States Congress.  Since that time, only 275 other women have served in that august and rather insular body.

Stop and think about that for a moment.  In the 95 years that have passed since Rankin’s election, only 275 other women have been elected to the United States Congress.  Why is that?

Why is it that women make up 18.9% of the world’s legislatures,[2] but only 17.4% of the United States Congress?[3]  How is it that this progressive, democratic, world-shaping empire actually elects fewer women to public office than other regions in the world?

[1] In an odd historical footnote, Rankin is also known as the only member of Congress to have voted against the United States entering into both World War I and World War II.

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10 Responses to American Women: Second Class Citizens?

  1. David Jones says:

    Perhaps it is because of choices that women themselves have made–to be wives and mothers first before pursuing office.

  2. Maybe because since God has men to be the leader of the household, he has more potential and experience of leading the country. And women have other duties such as taking care of kids and raising the family. People also might think women are too delicate to be a strong leader. That’s what I’m just assuming…but that’s just coming from a 14 year old’s small brain. I’m sure there’s much more than that! To be honest, I’m not sure where I stand when it comes to women being pastors, presidents, etc. Part of me tends to be traditional but I don’t think it’s necessarily “wrong…”

    • Rebecca … So you have the honor of being the first person to make me think twice about allowing open comments. I almost refused to allow your comment to be posted. Do you know why? You took a shot at yourself. And I’m not up for encouraging you to take shot’s at yourself. Your age is what it is. And part of any good conversation involves ideas that come from the old and the young alike. So don’t ever cut yourself down or allow people not to take you seriously. You’re 14. Cool. That doesn’t mean you don’t have something valuable to contribute.

      As for women pastors, presidents and such, you’ve got some time to figure that out. The great thing is, you’ve got a great pastor. While he firmly stands on one side of the issue, I know that he is good friends with someone else I respect that stands on the other side of the fence. So you’re in good hands, because he’s not the kind of pastor who won’t allow you to think through the issues; and at the same time, he’s not the kind of pastor that won’t guide you according to his wisdom and knowledge. You should ask him about it.

      • Rebecca Littauer says:

        Oh man…I feel rather embarrassed! (not honored) :/. Sorry, Mr. B! Shouldn’t have written that…

        And i feel very fortunate to have a pretty neat pastor. Curious to know his opinion on the matter!

        • Hey,

          There is absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about. I just don’t ever want you giving people a reason to dismiss you.

          Of all the things students say throughout a year, maybe a handful really stick in teacher’s minds. You want to know something? One of your comments in class makes that small list. You drew a connection back to our study of idols, and I remember thinking and saying: “Wow. Nice catch.” Age does not matter if the content is worthwhile. So don’t be embarrassed. Be encouraged that someone cares enough to never want to see you allow others to dismiss you. You’re a bright student and you can more than hold your own in these discussions. Trust me. 🙂

    • P.S. By 2000, 77% of American women between the age of 25 and 54 were in the workforce. So I don’t think it’s a lack of experience outside the home. You?

  3. mahoneyrm5150 says:

    I think you’ll find the answer in our history and use of scripture.

  4. Carrot says:

    Religion/Culture has entrenched the idea that man is leader, protector and provider. When a woman does it equally as good – or better – then what is a man? The only way to protect a cherished spot and/or the core of self-identity is to forbid it to others by coercion, force, undermine the ability of “others” to achieve that which is the providence of men, or justification in that denial with “traditional” sources.

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