Why Women Should Have Equal Representation In Government

Kayla Caplin, Contributing Writer

In the past few years, the feminist movement has constantly been making headlines.  From the #MeToo movement to the Women’s Right Marches, it is clear that women are making history and progressing toward full equality everyday.  With this increase in social activity, the phrase “breaking the glass ceiling,” has gained popularity.  The “glass ceiling“ is a phrase that has been used for decades.  It refers to the invisible barrier that many minorities, especially women, face when trying to achieve higher positions in the workplace.  When one “breaks the glass ceiling,” they are defying the odds and this oppressive boundary through obtaining a higher role in the workforce.  

In this month’s general election, women made history across both political aisles, from local state senators to the House of Representatives to the Vice Presidency.  By running on a winning ticket with Joe Biden, Kamala Harris has become not only the first female vice president of the United States of America, but also the first African American Vice President and the first Asian American Vice President.  Although she may be the first woman to have this large of a role in the federal government, as she said in her acceptance speech as Vice President-Elect, “I won’t be the last.”  It is crucially important to have more women in elected office. 

“Women offer a different perspective on news.  In addition, men often are the people in positions of power and it’s good to have women there too,” said junior Talya Pecullan. 

It is true that women offer differing perspectives on many topics compared to men, simply because they have different experiences.  Women offer different insight on various issues such as maternity rights, healthcare (this covers birth control which is under attack due to efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act), and pay equality.  Women are faced with different problems every day, from being expected to balance a family and work to paying high taxes on feminine hygiene products when condoms are not taxed similarly.  With men not sharing these experiences, they will never have the same insight, and therefore, men and women should be more equally represented to offer a more balanced governing system.

“Representation is a tenet of our democracy–women make up 50% percent of our country and they ought to be proportionally represented in office in order for our government to reflect our country.  Women’s lives are also profoundly impacted by government decisions, whether the issue is wage inequality, reproductive health, domestic violence, or childcare.  They deserve to have a seat at the table,” said junior Meiling Laurence. 

With women making up half of the population, it is extremely important that they have equal representation to make the road to equality both smoother.  Although every gender is profoundly impacted by the government, women’s reproductive rights are in complete control of the government.  A woman’s body should not be used to polarize the country, as a woman’s body belongs to her. 

In 2020, only 23.7% of Congress is made up of women, far less than the 50.5% slight majority that women hold in the country overall.  The numbers simply do not add up.  Therefore, it is essential that women gain a more equal representation in a government that currently has the right to control women’s bodies. 

“It’s important to have women in office because their opinions on matters provide another perspective that may reflect the needs of the women in this country better than a man’s view can.  50% of the population of the United States is women, so it is crucial that their views are expressed in politics on every level,” said junior Kiera Darnell. 

Furthermore, many women face catcalling, harassment, and misogynistic comments on a daily basis and oftentimes, men do not have the same experience.  Women adapt to these situations by protecting themselves, by carrying pepper spray, for example, but half of the population should not have to feel unsafe every time they go out.  With women in office, these issues can be addressed. 

“The only way for us to maintain a true representative democracy is for us to have people in office that represent the diversity and value of the citizens that support them.  Therefore, there should be a large presence of women in office to represent the 50.5% of the population that women make up in the United States.  In fact, if our representatives perfectly resembled that actual population, the majority of people in office would be women, not men,” said junior Matthew Pierre-Louis. 

Our founding fathers created a representative government, meaning that all of the people living under its jurisdiction are represented when laws are being written and interpreted.  Although at that point in time, not all people were considered to be equal, today, this has technically changed, but women, African Americans, and other minorities do not feel this.  In order for the government to truly rule on behalf of the people, the system needs to be all inclusive.

If women are constitutionally considered equal, then why are we still fighting for equality?  There are still people who feed into the feminine stereotypes and believe that a woman’s place is in the kitchen and the home, not the workforce.  By continuing to “break the glass ceiling“ and have more women in office, further legislation can be passed that would create a more gender equal society.  Equality, a basic right that is neglected for some, should be something that is taken as a given.  Women in office should teach the next generation that equality should be a given and not a privilege.  Kamala Harris is a great female leader for the youth of America, but it is all about who follows her.  When all is said and done, we need women in office to create a representative government that treats all people equally.