Posted by: williamnewton12 | February 12, 2015

Gender and Politics: Leadership styles and Political parties

http://qz.com/340320/gender-mandering-why-women-have-lost-out-on-leadership-in-the-new-congress/

So real quick the premise of the article is that due to the ways voting districts are drawn and voting tendencies of women congresswomen tend to get the Republican women in office less often, hence the large divide between Republican women and Democratic women.  As we saw when we watched the video of the interview with the women congresswomen, there were a great many more Democratic congresswomen than Republican ones.  This got me thinking as to what was the reason behind this.  I then considered some of the facts around me, not only did most of the women I agree with Democrats a majority of the time but also I began to consider leadership styles, and the differences each party had.

Its easy to see why women might line up for the Democratic party.  The Democrats tend to favor a, unsurprisingly, Democratic method in leadership.  Their policies tend to push towards an “all in this together” method of solving problems, with everyone taking responsibility to help (see Universal Healthcare, Social Security etc).  Their focus is not on big authoritarian leaders, but instead on a helpful government that creates opportunities.  On the flip side though we have Republicans who tend to favor a more indirect authoritarian style (although if you told them this they would probably balk at the notion).  Their policies tend to focus on a more backseat government (in theory) that lets the market/people do what they want.  However this has an easily foreseeable outcome, those with power (in whatever form it takes) rise to the top and lead.  This more indirect authoritarian system that lets people flex off their power would definitely appeal more to men than to women.

I understand that this is not the only reason that women might have a greater leadership drive in the Democratic party.  There are an abundance of social issues such as abortion that push some women away from Republican values, even some Republican women leaders have been pushed out of office because they favored choice in abortion.  Also there is a key element in the Republican perception of women that also pushes them away from politics, that nuclear family idea of the women as the homemaker in the family.  While I agree that these are also issues that need to be examined on their own time its also important that we examine this leadership style difference as another potential push back.  What do you gals (and guy) think?  Is this a fair representation of the political parties and do you believe that this is really an issue that pushes women away.

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Responses

  1. I do not know if this would be the main reason for why women are pushed away and I honestly could not give any better reasons for why there may be a divide in why we see more women leaders represented in the Democratic party. I think that the approach is very interesting and that the difference in values could have a lot to do with what side women tend to associate. I would be interested to see more research on this topic although I am not much into politics or understanding how much of it works. There could be many reasons for why we see the divide. Some of it may have to do with personality or different opportunities, but that would be the same for other positions people take also.

  2. I do not agree with the idea that the Democratic Party favors a more democratic form of leadership. I do not think that the political beliefs of either party are enough evidence to say that one favors more autocratic or democratic leadership. I believe that the main reason for the difference is the history and geography of the parties. The Democratic Party has been more closely tied to civil rights and suffrage movements in the past one hundred years, because they tend to focus more on social issues in general. Also, in the past century, the Democratic Party has been most largely located in cities and the Northeast, where progressive ideas tend to originate and really take hold.

  3. As I was reading your post, I was also reminded of the Congresswomen video we watched in class. The first thought that came to mind was “why are there SO many Democratic women and very few Republican women?” I think that the reason for the disproportional amounts of women is partially due to the Democratic party highlighting women’s issues such as abortion and contraceptives, while on the contrary in the Republican party, some women appreciate and value the “traditional” family that the Republican party focuses on a little too well. I think that due to the lack of Republican female politicians in the political sphere right now, other potential leaders are being deterred to pursue public office. Similarly to how Wilson described it in the “Ambition” chapter, women need to support other female leaders. I think that on both sides of the political spectrum women are being criticized for their appearance and material things rather than being seen as political contenders against their male counterparts. I think that both Republicans and Democrats are still caught up in the “mother or wife-with-career” role, causing female leaders to be left in the dark.


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