Res Publica - Journal of Undergraduate Research


Why are there so few women elected to positions in both gubernatorial and senatorial contests? Since the ratification of the nineteenth amendment in 1920—through which women obtained the right to vote and the right to full political participation—few women have actually held elective office. While women have increased their political participation by means of voting and activism, they are still vastly underrepresented in terms of elected positions (Clark, 1991: 64). Women make up over 50 percent of the United States population; however, they only comprise about 10 percent of the U.S. Congress (McGlen, 1995: 77). The problems women encounter are not only found on a domestic level, but on a global level as well. A 1986 study of women legislators in Western democracies determined that only three countries, Greece, Japan, and Australia, had smaller percentages of women in their national legislatures than the United States (McGlen, 1995: 85).