"Exhibiting You" - Story

The United States in Focus

Women Who Run

Submitted: 02/12/2008

Home to more than 300 million people, the United States has yet to elect a woman head of state, in spite of being considered by many to be one of the world's most advanced and thriving democracies. This stands in contrast to Argentina, Germany, Israel, India, and the United Kingdom -- a few of the more than fifty other democratic nations already led by a woman.

At the federal level, the proportion of U.S. women in elected office has slowly increased but still hovers below 20 percent, half that of the Netherlands, Cuba and Angola. Recent research has shown that women give more money to male candidates than to female candidates. Campaign finance structures and the cost of advertising ensure that it is exorbitantly, if not prohibitively, expensive for women to run for office at the highest levels.

Nevertheless, increasing numbers of women are being identified, recruited, trained and supported as future candidates and appointees. As of 2009, a woman, Nancy Pelosi, heads the lower legislative body as Speaker of the House of Representatives. Three of the last four secretaries of state, the most prestigious foreign policy position in the U.S. government, have been women.

In 2008, for the first time in its 232-year history, the U.S. had a viable female candidate for President, Senator Hillary Clinton. Record numbers of women ran for office at state and local levels and participated as voters, campaigners, and community organizers. Although there is still a ways to go, it's unquestionable that "the ladies" will indeed be remembered.


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