Women, Politics and Power: What Is Your Political Dream?

Posted on October 7, 2009

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Women have a huge sway in politics, especially democratic politics. The female voting demographic is closely examined and catered to whenever possible. Yet, rarely are there a proportionate number of duly elected female representatives, even when political parties set specific targets. Why? Studies show, women tend not to vote for women.

In a recent Globe and Mail discussion of why Mr. Ignatieff has failed to win over women voters, after a string of quotes that suggest female voters make political decisions based on a mixture of sex-appeal and perceived trustworthiness, I found this:

Calgary businesswoman Anette Ceraficki, 44, said of him: “I really want to like him. I really want to get excited about him as a leader, but he’s not giving me much to work with.

“When you see him in public, he’s surrounded by men in grey suits. He’s not supposed to be one of those guys. I like to think of the parallel being Obama. This is my dream. He’s got women all around him, smart, strong women.”

It shocked me that the political dream of a 44 year old woman in this day and age is a powerful man surrounded by a gaggle of (I am sure, smartly dressed) women competing with each other to win his opinion. Honestly, this seems more like a male political fantasy to me. Even the most charitable reading of this women’s political fantasy seems to me inadequate. Why have a male figure-head enacting the will of a group of political über-women, when a woman could do it just as well?

Is this woman’s political dream representative of women’s political dreams, generally speaking? I suspect it is, or, at least, something very much like it. How else to explain the tendency of women to not vote for women, even when given the opportunity?

So my questions: what is your political dream and in what way is it different from this woman’s dream? Would you vote for a woman, if you knew she was going to be in charge? How would you assess her potential for political leadership? Is this article just another case of a male-dominated media perpetuating sexist stereotypes about about woman voting patterns or does it actually offer genuine insight into women’s voting patterns? How do you explain the tendency of women not to vote for women?

Personally, I’d like to know.

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