Women in Politics

Women & Politics

This is an area where we can discuss Women and Politics .

I thought we could start with this statement made by

Debbie Walsh, director of the Center for American Woman and Politics at Rutgers University, who says women seek public office because “women run to do something, men run to be somebody.

Continuing, Walsh said: “Women run because there is some public issue that they care about, some change they want to make, some issue that is a priority for them… men tend to run for office because they see this as a career path.”

Do you agree with this ? 

I know I decided to get into local politics for this reason.  I had always been interested in politics because in my family we always liked a good discussion on the topics of the day.

My Grandad had been involved in the National Union of Mineworkers in the 1950’s and 1960’s. In fact he was the Vice -President of the Lancashire NUM. I’m proud of that !  I became a Union Rep myself in the 1990’s. So I guess for me , fighting injustice was in my genes.

Yet it was only when I reached my late 30’s that I decided to get active with the local Labour party .This was because as this statement suggests there was a public issue I was concerned about. As many of you might know already,this was road safety. I founded www.kidscrosssafely.org.uk when I realised that  there was injustice in a system which should protect our children.

I’d like to hear from you. What made you want to get involved in politics ? Do you feel that this is a good statement ?

Do you feel that there should be more done to encourage women into politics. How do we achieve this ?

2 Comments

  1. Whilst I’m not actually involved in politics, I have worked within a political environment and have therefore come across both male and female politicians. I tend to broadly agree with Debbie Walsh’s statment and I think that fundamentally women are motivated into politics because they care or feel strongly about certain issues. Women tend to sustain their passion and sense of social responsibility over a longer period of time, they become entwinned at a personal level with their cause and have an amazing ability to empathise whereas men find that far more challenging. Whilst men in politics may be driven by an initial passion I believe that in many cases (not all) that passion is not sustained as other things creep in and they lose that initial sense of injustice. In terms of male / female there are fundamental differences in the way in which we each identity, approach and champion issues that are important to us. I think part of this is down to our genetic differences! Women are more in tune with their intuition and are very good at reading situations and people within those situations; whereas men don’t often unpick things and will only see the initial problem and then move on. However I think that both sexes want to be somebody, its just that most women don’t make a big song and dance about it whereas men often do!
    Interestingly someone only the other day said I really should be in politics and I suggested I cared to much to be taken any notice of! LOL

  2. I would tend to disagree with Debbie’s statement – although it may have greater validity in the US. I generally find stereotypes unhelpful – even when they may be broadly representative of the population described. I know a Conservative councillor who has run for parliament twice in a Labour held seat – each time defeated, each time narrowing the majority. He’s now decided he won’t run again – his reason being that he is not independently wealthy and can not afford to be an MP – he was worried more about the insecurity than the level of salary – but even so it’s quite telling.

    I know a few women who are “career” politicians. I don’t actually think it diminishes their commitment to what they believe in – they become “somebody” by achieving “something”.

    In some ways this compares to my own job working as a teacher in a special school – people say “Oh it must be wonderful to have a vocation” – It’s not a vocation – it’s a job that I enjoy doing, and feel strongly about, and pays reasonably well and that I happen to be quite good at. I don’t really think I’m trying to achieve something, or be somone – but both are true to an extent.

    I can’t see how gender impacts on this at all though really

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