COLUMN: Women's representation not enough
Despite the buffoonery of the likes of Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock, this election cycle proved to be one in which American women flexed their muscles.
A historic number of women were elected to Congress, with 20 women holding positions in the Senate and 73 women in the House of Representatives. New Hampshire also gave us the first all-female Congressional delegation.
In addition to more female representation in Congress, women played a significant role in electing our president — a 55 percent majorityvoted for Obama, compared to a 52 percent majority of men voting for Romney.
American women are also making gains in other areas. According to the Population Reference Bureau, an organization devoted to analyzing demographic data, “Young women are now more likely to enroll in and graduate from college than young men.” The Department of Labor predicts women will account for 51 percentof the growth in jobs from 2008 to 2018.
However, we still have much work to do. Though our congressional delegation is the largest it has ever been, we fall considerably behind in political representation compared with other countries.
Worldwide, the United States ranks a dismal 91st in female representation in politics, with just 16.9 percent of the political body being female. This puts us under the international average of 19.3 percent and places us behind countries like Rwanda (which incidentally has the highest political representation worldwide at 56.3 percent), Nepal and Uganda.
In the workplace, there is an average wage inequality between men and women, with the median wages of women being about 80 percent of the median wages of men. However, this figure can be deceiving, and according to a 2011 government study titled “Women in America: Indicators of Social and Economic Well-Being,” “This comparison of earning is on a broad level and does not control for many factors that can be significant in explaining or further highlighting earning differences.”
Despite the progress that still needs to be made, it is exciting to be living in a time in which women are experiencing more political and workplace representation than any other period in American history.
Janna Gentry is an English senior.