Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Why There Aren't Many Women In Politics

Politics is confrontational, it is aggressive, and it is demanding, but I don't think these are the real reasons why there aren't more women involved in the political system. The reason why women are so disproportionately active in politics is because they face a disproportionate amount of disrespect.

As we live in a democracy, where anyone wanting to participate must interact with hordes of people of differing opinions, there is sure to be negative criticism regardless of a politician's sex. These criticisms are hard enough as it is, just go door knocking and I wager your self-esteem will suffer for it. I can't imagine the additional criticism women must face, but I know it would only make their interactions tougher.

Last night I went door knocking for Christy Clark in my city of Kelowna, British Columbia. I had made a flyer stressing a more populist message as she is running for BC Liberal Leader and I was going door-to-door facing the general public. I had visited some homes that were a pleasure and really made the expedition worth it, and visited other homes that were just willing to listen and of course came across some that weren't. At the far end of the spectrum I met a few people who upon hearing any reference to the BC Liberal Party were quite rude.

Meeting negative reactions always weakens one's morale; it is sometimes difficult to persist. After twenty houses or so, I knocked on one door, and an older woman answered. I explained about the opportunity of voting for our next Premier and the change Christy Clark would bring to our provincial government and this woman directed me to go to the garage where, as she put it, "all the men were."

I entered the garage and saw four men of varying ages and one younger woman around a suped up quad. I introduced myself, explained why I was there and the importance of joining the BC Liberals to vote for their choice for the next Premier. I handed out flyers, each having a picture of Christy Clark on them and before I was finished I was interrupted with questions of her relationship status, of her body shape, and other questions of increasing inappropriateness. These soon turned into comments of a similar nature.

My response was one of moderated admonition and added that this vote and this candidate is important to changing our government and our province. I left shortly after, the total exchange being no more than three minutes long, but as I walked out into the dark cold night I realized that politicking is hard enough as it is, I can't imagine having to put up with even more criticism, more disrespect just because of my sex.

In the end politics' adversarial nature is not the real reason why more women aren't politically active, the real reason is that in facing more criticism, more disrespect, women face more adversaries. If you disagree and you're a male, go door knocking, if you don't give up when confronted with the eventual negativity you will receive, imagine receiving even more just because of your sex.


CanadianSense said...

I would like to applaud your participation in advocating for your candidate and her platform.

Hopefully you can take away some insight from the boys in the garage without using a paintbrush on our entire gender.

Best of luck with your advocacy on behalf of your candidate. said...

Thank you, it means a lot.

I hoped to convey that I don't think every man is derogatory or more critical of women, but that simply there is a percentage who are. Even if that percentage is extremely small, that just means women face all the more negativity than men.

From experience I can see why a slight increase in negativity, let alone any negativity, would deter people from participating politically.

HippyTreeMan said...

The BC Liberals...are you kidding me?Progressive Blog?The BC Liberals are Harper Cons in red sheeps clothing!The fact Ms.Clark joined this misogynistic group to start with is problematic to say the least.They have presided over the declining income for single moms in BC,the highest child poverty in the country for NINE years,the lowest minimum wage...I can't go on I have to throw-up! Progressive Blog my a..! said...

Hippy, if by progressive you mean narrow-minded, judgemental, immature and irrational then yes this is not a progressive blog.

To be progressive someone doesn't have to agree with you a 100%. Please stop being so narrow-minded and judgemental.

The Grey Lady said...

Every once in a while you will meet folks that dislike your representative because of irrational reasons. I dislike her already because she is a parasite that seeks to make rules that subjugate her fellow sheeple. Politicians have better be ready to take the slings and arrows no matter what their strip or go back to the nursery and suck their thumbs self pityingly. said...

Grey Lady your rhetoric is deplorable and does nothing to further political discourse. You could have offered a serious opinion and people would have taken you seriously.

Tony said...

Scott, add me to the list of people who believe you should be congratulated for your hard work and participation.

Sadly, succeeding in politics requires a thick skin built from these kinds of unfortunate exchanges.

In my experience it's doubly hard for women, as too many of the criticisms and questions go way beyond the pale.

Keep up the great work. Very impressive!

The Grey Lady said...

I was serious.

Not everyone believes that politics is an honourable profession, hookers are more honest and straight forward.

The Grey Lady said...

Look, you went to over twenty houses that night and you have gone out politicking other times. This is the first time or incident you reported that you felt an outright anti female sentiment.

So just how many doors did you have to knock on before you found the "REAL" reason why women aren't in politics?

My first comment still stands, you will find many an irrational reason for someone not liking your politico of choice, but wholesale discrimination against "women" just isn't reasonable. said...

Grey lady, I get a sense you're just being a contrarian. I have met many people who made similar remarks about women candidates this was just the event that allowed me to see it more clearly.

I never suggested there was wholesale discrimination against women. I emphasized that everyone who goes politicking meets criticism, women however I argue receive a disproportionate amount, and that increase no matter how small does impact their morale and willingness to continue.

HippyTreeMan said...

That is not a response to my comment.Ignore the facts and go straight to personal attacks,typical neocon with no argument to back up his/her ideology/dogma! said...

HippyTree I did not issue one personal attack against you. Please before you pass judgement on some blog, read more than one post.