Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Women Have Less Political Ambition Than Men. So?



From the executive summary of the article "Men Rule: The Continued Under-Representation of Women in U.S. Politics," by Jennifer L. Lawless (American University) and Richard L. Fox (Loyola Marymount University):

"Study after study finds that, when women run for office, they perform just as well as their male counterparts. No differences emerge in women and men’s fundraising receipts, vote totals, or electoral success. Yet women remain severely under-represented in U.S. political institutions (see top chart above). We argue that the fundamental reason for women’s under-representation is that they do not run for office. There is a substantial gender gap in political ambition; men tend to have it, and women don’t.

We arrive at this conclusion by analyzing data from a brand new survey of nearly 4,000 male and female “potential candidates” – lawyers, business leaders, educators, and political activists, all of whom are well-situated to pursue a political candidacy – and comparing our results to a survey we conducted in 2001. Despite the emergence over the past ten years of high-profile women in politics, such as Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton, and Sarah Palin, we find that the gender gap in political ambition is virtually the same as it was a decade ago (see middle chart above). The gender gap in interest in a future candidacy has actually increased (see bottom chart above)."

Up to this point, the study seems to take an unbiased, gender-neutral, scientific approach by pointing out that female under-representation in holding political office is not because women are discriminated against once they decide to run for office, but rather that there are significant gender differences in terms of political ambition to run for office in the first place. In that case, isn't it possible that those gender differences and "political gender gap" might be innate and/or acceptable?  Well, not if perfect statistical gender parity for holding political offices is the goal, and that's what the authors seem to be suggesting is the ideal outcome. For example, here's the concluding paragraph:

"Concerns about democratic legitimacy and political accountability necessitate that we continue to examine and work to ameliorate gender disparities in office holding. The large gender gap in political ambition we identify, coupled with the stagnation in the number of women serving in elected offices in the last decade, makes the road ahead look quite daunting. Indeed, many barriers to women’s interest in running for office can be overcome only with major cultural and political changes. But in the meantime, our results suggest that recruiting female candidates and disseminating information about the electoral environment and women’s successes can help narrow the gender gap and increase women’s numeric representation. The challenges in front of us are to continue to raise awareness about the barriers women face, and to continue to advocate for a more inclusive electoral process."

MP: Like most gender differences in outcomes, there only ever seems to be concern when women are under-represented in fields like politics, and never any concern when men are under-represented for outcomes like bachelor's degrees, master's degrees, doctor's degrees, graduate school enrollment, biology degrees, veterinary degrees, optometry degrees, pharmacy degrees, etc.  The only exceptions are when the outcomes are negative like prison populations, learning disabilities, occupational injuries and fatalities, motorcycle injuries and fatalities, suicides and drug addiction and then there is no concern about female under-representation.  

42 Comments:

At 1/25/2012 9:18 PM, OpenID Sprewell said...

Perhaps this means women are not dumb enough to run for office? ;) Mark does raise a good point: any lawmaker that tries to "do something" about this gender difference in policics should also "do something" to get more women in jail. After all, why should we fill our jails with 93% male prisoners? There must be a bunch of female criminals that are somehow going free, we need to really crack down and get that rate up to parity. ;)

 
At 1/25/2012 11:25 PM, Blogger kmg said...

Mark,

Oh, it is much worse than that.

The vast majority of women, even Christian conservatives (who are feminists when it suits them) expect men to die for the benefit of women, just because.....

http://dalrock.wordpress.com/2012/01/25/women-have-rights-men-have-responsibilities/

If this doesn't make your blood boil, not much can.

 
At 1/25/2012 11:29 PM, Blogger kmg said...

The explosive growth of anti-misandry blogs and activism has shown that feminism is really just an illogical hate cult, nothing more.

Feminism, far from helping women, has actually exposed basic female inferiority (moral, intellectual, and economic) far more widely than could ever have been possible before feminism.

I mean, in the old days, women knew which tasks they were ill-suited for, and avoided them. Today, a feminist will loudly proclaim her competence while demonstrating the opposite, and not even care about her inability to deliver.

The Grand Duke of all anti-feminism article is The Misandry Bubble. Read it to see how deep the absurdity is.

 
At 1/26/2012 6:51 AM, Blogger geoih said...

Since politics is just war by other means, it seems logical that there would be fewer women interested in it.

 
At 1/26/2012 7:34 AM, Blogger Methinks said...

In general, I don't like feminists because they would like to force their world view on the rest of us and because they claim to speak for me.

But the idiotic, misogynistic droppings kmg has left in this comment section is what fuels them.

Feminism, far from helping women, has actually exposed basic female inferiority (moral, intellectual, and economic)...

Uh....really? Not as much as it has exposed your inferiority in those categories.

I mean, in the old days, women knew which tasks they were ill-suited for, and avoided them.

I happen to excel (read: do better than the vast majority of the men) in a mathy, testosterone-soaked, male dominated field where women are the extreme minority. I like that it's all of those things and I don't seek to push more women into the field or to change the field to be more touchy-feely and "woman friendly".

I'm also unconcerned with how many women are represented in whatever field. Except that feminists are a special interest group trying to force others to do their bidding - like every other special interest group - I don't understand the concern.

But, I guess, according to you, it's just another sign of my female moral, intellectual and economic failure. Or maybe you're just an ass.

 
At 1/26/2012 8:28 AM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Sprewell: After all, why should we fill our jails with 93% male prisoners?

Yes, there are far too many males caught up in America's prison system.

kmg: Feminism, far from helping women, has actually exposed basic female inferiority (moral, intellectual, and economic) far more widely than could ever have been possible before feminism.

That's directly contrary to the study, which is that women performed just as well as men once they entered politics.

Lack of role models until recently may have something to do with it. Women now reaching the age where they would have achieved politically powerful positions had That Girl as a minimalist positive role model. There just wasn't much in terms of role models in the popular media.

The study itself points to seven possible factors that may limit female political ambition:

1. Women are substantially more likely than men to perceive the electoral environment as highly competitive and biased against female candidates
2. Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin’s candidacies aggravated women’s perceptions of gender bias in the electoral arena
3. Women are much less likely than men to think they are qualified to run for office
4. Female potential candidates are less competitive, less confident, and more risk averse than their male counterparts
5. Women react more negatively than men to many aspects of modern campaigns
6. Women are less likely than men to receive the suggestion to run for office – from anyone
7. Women are still responsible for the majority of childcare and household tasks

Methinks: I'm also unconcerned with how many women are represented in whatever field.

The reason it is important is that many women may not achieve their full potential if they don't consider certain fields for their professional lives. And society is the poorer when the pool of qualified people to draw from is cut in half. And with politics in particular, women may be underrepresented if they don't involve themselves in politics.

 
At 1/26/2012 9:48 AM, Blogger Methinks said...

The reason it is important is that many women may not achieve their full potential if they don't consider certain fields for their professional lives.

It is up to women to decide what their full potential is, not you. Defining an ideal life for the individual living it is a difficult enough task for the individual living it. Your ability to decide whether someone else is living up to his or her full potential is nil.



And society is the poorer when the pool of qualified people to draw from is cut in half. And with politics in particular, women may be underrepresented if they don't involve themselves in politics.

Nobody is forcing women to not participate. They choose not to. Society is NEVER poorer when individuals are free to choose for themselves. Never.

 
At 1/26/2012 10:08 AM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Methinks: It is up to women to decide what their full potential is, not you.

Yes, but the study suggests that many qualified women are avoiding politics, and probably other fields, for reasons that appear extraneous to their abilities.

Methinks: Your ability to decide whether someone else is living up to his or her full potential is nil.

We didn't decide anything for anybody, but pointed out that there is untapped potential.

Methinks: Society is NEVER poorer when individuals are free to choose for themselves.

If people feel the environment is biased against them, then they and society are the poorer for it.

 
At 1/26/2012 10:19 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

kmg-

wow. that's some seriously bigoted nonsense you are spewing.

"I mean, in the old days, women knew which tasks they were ill-suited for, and avoided them."

you have to be kidding me. and what evidence do you have for this outlandish idea?

my mother was a mainframe programmer. she was one of the first women in the field and had to fight against exactly the sort of "know your place" stupidity your spout. she did very well and wound up running the data centers for major banks. according to you, she should have stayed in the kitchen? (and believe me, she's a better programmer than a cook)

extreme feminism, like most extreme ideologies, winds up becoming ridiculous and making the rest of the movement look bad, but you sounds like you wish it was still the 40's and as though you are really bitter. woman take your job or something?

 
At 1/26/2012 10:41 AM, Blogger chrissyrudd said...

I have an interest in politics, and would consider myself a good candidate in future years (as I feel I'm a little young yet and would need more experience in life and government) but I will not consider it in the future for a few reasons:
1. I agree with Sprewell, I'm not "dumb enough to run for office." No offense to those who might be politicians, but I have the same contempt for a career politician as one might for a "sleazy" used car sales-man. Thoughts of slick hair and smooth talk make my skin crawl. Perhaps that comes from so many of them saying one thing to get elected, and then doing the opposite.
2. I feel I can affect change in a better way by teaching. There is my calling.
3. Who has the time? I'm going to make sure I raise my 3 girls to be independent thinkers who will go on to make a positive difference in the world. So that includes working my full time job, getting them to school on time with full bellies and clean clothes, reading to them every night, forcing them to do their chores and making sure I hug them at least 4 times a day! Busy, busy!
4. Maybe this isn't the "proper" feminist thinking, but I am more likely to use my powers of persuasion (read: manipulation) for the good cause of what I feel is right on a local level, than trying to run for office to affect change on a larger level. I hear women can be very effective at this, and have found it to be true... especially with my husband! ;)

 
At 1/26/2012 11:17 AM, Blogger Methinks said...

Yes, but the study suggests that many qualified women are avoiding politics, and probably other fields, for reasons that appear extraneous to their abilities.

In addition to a talent for my chosen profession, I also have artistic and musical talent. Am I not living "up to my potential" because I am neither an illustrator nor a concert cellist?

I chose my profession and Ms. Chrissy Rudd in an above post did an excellent job explaining just how qualified people choose their own path.

How is it that busybodies are so inclined to decide who is living up to their potential and who isn't?

We didn't decide anything for anybody, but pointed out that there is untapped potential.

And I remind that it's not your potential to tap.

If people feel the environment is biased against them, then they and society are the poorer for it.

When you find a world without biases, you be sure to let me know. It might also have no disease, unhappiness, death or ugly people.

 
At 1/26/2012 11:45 AM, Blogger Marko said...

There should be no legal barriers to woman. That is where I think governments should stop and go no further. Preferences are code for discrimination.

 
At 1/26/2012 11:49 AM, Blogger chrissyrudd said...

One more point:
The public and the media refer to Nancy P, Hillary, and Sarah P. not only as strong women, but unfortunately many other, more colorful names, that you'd be hard pressed to find them calling male candidates. Remember Sarah P's head photoshopped onto the bikini-clad, gun totting model? Not to mention the open invitation to critique my hair, clothing, parenting skills, and other various attributes that have nothing to do with my qualifications. NO THANK YOU!

 
At 1/26/2012 11:55 AM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

Look, this whole thing is stupid. Anyone with half a brain can see that. Methinks and Ms. Rudd are correct: it's all about choice.

To claim one group is "under-represented" is to imply they have no choice, or they made the wrong choices. Either are insulting to the "under-represented" group. As Sprewell said, maybe women are just not dumb enough to run for office.

Everyone has their calling. To even suggest someone has made the wrong choice is just plain arrogant.

 
At 1/26/2012 12:29 PM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Methinks: When you find a world without biases, you be sure to let me know. It might also have no disease, unhappiness, death or ugly people.

That's not an argument against caring about a high incidence of disease.

 
At 1/26/2012 12:31 PM, Blogger Tom said...

The study was great up to a point. People with common sense quickly see that point, and shrug off the article's further urge to regulate, a sign of the authoritarian liberal.

 
At 1/26/2012 12:42 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Zach, cute non-sequitur. Women being predisposed to certain choices you don't approve of is not a disease. Biases don't stand a chance against ability. Morganovich's mama and I, along with countless other women in traditionally male fields, stand as examples of that.

I have seen more than my fair share of women sue their employers claiming that they have not
progressed because of some cockamamie bias against their gender rather than the fact that they were completely incompetent in their current positions. Now, I'm the employer. Guess how eager I am to hire my fellow women. I'm not. Women have you and other progressives to blame for that.

Marko says it best. Well done, sir.

 
At 1/26/2012 1:42 PM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Methinks: cute non-sequitur.

No. You suggested bias was inevitable like disease. While certainly true, people still seek to minimize the incidence, so your argument fell flat.

Methinks: Women being predisposed to certain choices you don't approve of is not a disease.

The study identified seven factors that unnecessarily predispose women's choices, including perceived bias.

 
At 1/26/2012 1:43 PM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Methinks: Biases don't stand a chance against ability.

Methinks: Guess how eager I am to hire my fellow women. I'm not.

 
At 1/26/2012 2:21 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Since you didn't get it the first time, I'll spell it out for you, Zach.

I'm not eager to hire women because your dumb anti-bias campaigns have increased the cost of hiring women by increasing the probability of being sued so that previously unbiased people like myself are now biased against women.

Nice work.

 
At 1/26/2012 2:42 PM, Blogger kmg said...

But the idiotic, misogynistic droppings kmg has left in this comment section is what fuels them.

On the contrary, my points are logical and correct.

If you think that 'fuels' misandry, you are clueless.

Misogyny is imaginary. Misandry is real.

 
At 1/26/2012 2:44 PM, Blogger kmg said...

Methinks,

I happen to excel (read: do better than the vast majority of the men) in a mathy, testosterone-soaked, male dominated field

Anecdotes are not averages, so you already failed the basic test.

Read 'The Misandry Bubble' (linked above) to learn more about the fact that misandry is vastly more prevalent than misogyny.

 
At 1/26/2012 3:35 PM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Methinks: I'm not eager to hire women because your dumb anti-bias campaigns ...

Our anti-bias campaign? All we did was cite the finding of the study in the original post.

Methinks: ... have increased the cost of hiring women by increasing the probability of being sued so that previously unbiased people like myself are now biased against women.

First you say that bias doesn't have a chance against ability, then you say you avoid hiring women without regard to ability.

 
At 1/26/2012 3:41 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

First you say that bias doesn't have a chance against ability, then you say you avoid hiring women without regard to ability.

Where did I say that? Point it out to me.

 
At 1/26/2012 3:48 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Anecdotes are not averages, so you already failed the basic test.

Oh, but you were describing all women, dear. Perhaps its a failing of men.


Read 'The Misandry Bubble' (linked above) to learn more about the fact that misandry is vastly more prevalent than misogyny

I'm willing to believe that without reading the article. You individually, on the other hand, are a shining example of misogyny.

 
At 1/26/2012 5:14 PM, Blogger Marko said...

It is perfectly legal to have bias and to discriminate - just not in hiring and only for certain protected categories.

I can discriminate between different types of cheeses, for example. That is not illegal. I can discriminate in employment - I can choose to only hire people with 5 years of experience, or only ones that interview well. I can't base my choice on sex though, or a few other categories.

I always need to keep repeating this - discrimination in hiring based on sex and race is already against the law (and increasingly rare in my experience as an employment lawyer). It is already illegal. Some people just can't stand that the world is not the way THEY would like it to be, hence the autocratic nature of modern American Liberalism/Progressivism.

 
At 1/26/2012 5:55 PM, Blogger kmg said...

You individually, on the other hand, are a shining example of misogyny.

Yawn.... women use the imaginary notion of 'misogyny' just to avoid accountability. The Misandry Bubble explains this with airtight logic.

My logic has eviscerated your shaming language, and you know it. Making accurate statements about heavily demonstrated female limitations is not 'misogyny'.

You have a long way to go before you understand how women think. And no, being a woman does not mean you know how women think, as pickup artists have spectacularly proved.

Misogyny is imaginary. Misandry is real. Got it?

 
At 1/26/2012 5:56 PM, Blogger kmg said...

First you say that bias doesn't have a chance against ability, then you say you avoid hiring women without regard to ability.

In other words, a woman being a woman.

Women do not like their words and deeds scrutinized.

 
At 1/26/2012 6:07 PM, Blogger kmg said...

I'm not eager to hire women because your dumb anti-bias campaigns have increased the cost of hiring women by increasing the probability of being sued so that previously unbiased people like myself are now biased against women.

I agree with this. In fact, I would never hire any person (man or woman) who actually believed the tired old lie that women are paid just 77% of men.

But then again, you became an example of what you yourself condemn, by labeling any fair and accurate observations about female inability as 'misogyny'. Thus, you made women look bad by your own hand.

The good news is that anti-misandry blogs and ideas are growing at an explosive rate, and the costs of feminism are being transferred back to women.

 
At 1/26/2012 7:59 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

My logic has eviscerated your shaming language, and you know it. Making accurate statements about heavily demonstrated female limitations is not 'misogyny'.

Of course you have, dear. Your logic is that feminists have exposed female inferiority. And that doesn't expose your basic misogyny and idiocy. It's definitely a demonstration of female limitations.

I mean, according to you, in the old days, despite our individual abilities, we gals knew not to compete with less able boys so as not to emasculate them too badly. Now, all you can do is cry.

It's great to be a woman what with a dipshit like Zach seeking to create all kinds of anti-bias campaigns that make hiring women more expensive, aiding dipshits like you and hurting the very women he claims to want to help.

Whatever. I'm still more successful and way richer than you are in a field where I would eviscerate you in direct competition. You're just internet spew.

 
At 1/26/2012 8:04 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

I always need to keep repeating this - discrimination in hiring based on sex and race is already against the law (and increasingly rare in my experience as an employment lawyer).

Marko, I don't doubt you're right that's it's increasingly rare. What about lawsuits against employers claiming discrimination?

There's a cost to a lawsuit even it's eventually won.

 
At 1/27/2012 12:04 AM, Blogger kmg said...

Your logic is that feminists have exposed female inferiority.

Yes. It is obvious to anyone who is logical.

And don't call me 'dear', toots. You have not earned the privilege.

And that doesn't expose your basic misogyny and idiocy.

Yawn.... you really are stumped, aren't you?

As I said, playing the 'misogyny card' is the same thing as playing the race card, except it is even less valid, since there is no real misogyny in the West and there hasn't been in ages.

You have a long way to go before you understand how women think.

Sites that can teach you how women think are :
Heartiste
Dalrock

It's great to be a woman what with a dipshit like Zach seeking to create all kinds of anti-bias campaigns that make hiring women more expensive,

Your own inability to grasp basic concepts, of course, does a lot to expose basic female inferiority, which was my original point that you are proving.

The truth is, most women cannot do anything a 12-year-old boy cannot do. Women know this and it aggravates them (notice how pottymouthed Methinks becomes once a man figures her out).

 
At 1/27/2012 9:54 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"you have to be kidding me. and what evidence do you have for this outlandish idea?"...

Actually morganovich its not that totally outlandish in some fields of endeavor...

Fields of work that require physical strength, especially upper body physical strength can be seen as one of the few exceptions to the equality equation...

Its still relatively rare to see women working as roughnecks, pipe and ship fitters, iron workers, loggers, working groundside at airlines and maybe a handful of other jobs...

This though is also changing...

Its not that women can't do the work, its maybe due the idea that still persists with some that it isn't 'womens' work'...

I would've WWII and the 'Rosie the Riveter' situation would've banished that idea but apparently it didn't...

Personally I'm glad to see it changing...

 
At 1/27/2012 9:56 AM, Blogger Zachriel said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 1/27/2012 9:57 AM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Methinks: It's great to be a woman what with a dipshit like Zach seeking to create all kinds of anti-bias campaigns that make hiring women more expensive, aiding dips&!^s like you and hurting the very women he claims to want to help.

As we haven't addressed possible solutions, or even if any solutions exist, your comment misses the mark. Of course, there is no evidence of prejudice against women.

kmg: The truth is, most women cannot do anything a 12-year-old boy cannot do. Women know this and it aggravates them (notice how pottymouthed Methinks becomes once a man figures her out).

 
At 1/27/2012 11:59 AM, Blogger Marko said...

Juandos, in my experience much of what you are talking about is self selction - I advised a company that had many night warehouse workers. Because we were federal contractors, we were scrutinized by the government to have a proportionate number of females in our workforce (by they OFCCP). We had a great deal of trouble because when female applicants showed up for the interview, they saw what the job was and dropped out. We didn't discriminate, the female applicants did!

Methinks, you are right - there are still plenty of lawsuits alleging sex discrimination. Whenever you get fired, you can call the EEOC and claim it was sex discrimination and they will investigate - and then you can sue, even with no basis. The way the rules are written, you can prove discrimination indirectly, but in my experience real discrimination, based on real evidence of misogyny, is mostly gone. It is rarely even alleged in lawsuits anymore. It is more "a man did the same thing and wasn't fired" then when you look closer, there are differences in what happened.

Sexual harassment, however, as in unwanted sexual advances, especially by co-workers, does happen and happens pretty often. I am just saying that employers generally now just want people that can do the job, and don't care if the person is male or female. Another caveat - the more protection government require for maternity leave, the more we are seeing some employers reluctant to hire woman in certain positions . . .

Oh, and KMG - you are being an ass, in case you didn't know.

 
At 1/27/2012 4:33 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Marko,

Thank you. Very interesting.

In practice, protections work as a form of barrier. To busybody do-gooders it's only the intention that counts. Never mind what actually happens to people.

 
At 1/27/2012 6:53 PM, Blogger kmg said...

Marko,

My points are valid. You cannot rebut them logically because you cannot envision any paradigm other than groveling to women (which women hate, btw).

My points stand.

Read the Misandry Bubble (linked above) to educate yourself.

 
At 1/28/2012 2:58 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"Juandos, in my experience much of what you are talking about is self selction..."...

Well no doubt about it marko but when you start talking serious money even some of the most unappealing jobs start to look very attractive...

Back in '81 when air traffic controllers went on strike I was furloughed from the airline I was working at...

I went to work as a mud engineer out in the gulf...

Back then it wasn't hard for an experienced diver with some skill sets to make in excess of $70K/year...

That sort of commercial diving was/is one of the highest paid (many different pay scales actually) positions going...

In '81 there were NO female rig divers that I had heard of...

I've been told that now a days that there quite a few female divers on the rigs out in the gulf but what % they comprise of all the divers I don't know...

BTW a dive master I know in Corpus Christi, Tx told me some of the experienced divers with special skill sets routinely make a $100K/year but the average is a little over $68K/year...

Room and board are paid for while out on the rig...

 
At 1/28/2012 3:45 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

juandos: "BTW a dive master I know in Corpus Christi, Tx told me some of the experienced divers with special skill sets routinely make a $100K/year but the average is a little over $68K/year..."

For some reason that seems low considering the skills required and the danger involved. Did you perhaps leave off a leading "1"?

 
At 1/28/2012 4:33 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"For some reason that seems low considering the skills required and the danger involved. Did you perhaps leave off a leading "1"?"...

Well ron h these divers aren't paid on the basis of the typical 2040 hour work year...

They are paid for their 'wet time' and the junior divers never see any real wet time for the first couple of years as a rule...

The junior divers tend to make up a slight majority of the divers and have to hustle all the necessities the actual divers need (gas mixtures, tanks, dive equipment, decompression tank, etc), this is their wet time so speak...

Depending on the situation these junior divers could be working around the clock twice before they can catch some rack time, something that regular divers don't do...

Back in '81 most divers spent around six to seven months total out of year's time on the rig...

I don't think that's changed much...

One of the major problems of this sort of commercial diving is the use of welding/cutting torches underwater...

Even with seriously darkened eye protection its hard one's eye sight after awhile...

 
At 1/28/2012 6:21 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

juandos: "Depending on the situation these junior divers could be working around the clock twice before they can catch some rack time, something that regular divers don't do..."

Ahh. Thanks. I knew there was some reason I never thought I'd want to do that for a living. :)

 

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