Incoming Republican and Democratic members of Congress pose for a group photograph on the steps of the House of Representatives Nov. 15 in Washington, D.C. TNS Photo
Representation of women in Congress still lacking
Representation of women in the national government is still lacking in the Senate and in the House of Representatives.
In the 115th Congress of the United States, which meets from January 2017 to January 2019, there will be a total of 104 women with positions in both the House and Senate.
Twenty-one women will hold office in the Senate and 83 women will hold office in the House of Representatives. Out of these legislative entities, there will be 38 women of color, according to Rutgers Eagleton Institute of Politics.
Twenty-one women will hold office in the Senate and 83 women will hold office in the House of Representatives. Out of these legislative entities, there will be 38 women of color.
The Ball State Daily News spoke to four students from four different political groups on campus about the lack of women in national politics.
Ball State College Republicans
Andrew Hammer, a junior marketing major and treasurer for the Ball State College Republicans, feels like it’s a good thing that women are running for offices in government.
He feels like women deserve more credit for becoming a strong force in the workforce and the economy while having little to say in decisions that impact these areas.
“[Women] have had enough and decided to run whether they were encouraged or not," Hammer said.
In Hammer’s opinion, women have a significant role in all other parts of society, like the general workforce and education, and he believes women’s participation in government is the next step.
He went on to say the recession could have influenced women to get involved in politics. Hammer comes from a family where women are the decision makers and breadwinners for the family.
“Women are deciding to run to have a voice in the decisions that affect those dinner-table issues such as jobs and the economy," he said.
Regarding the past election, Hammer doesn’t think Hillary Clinton’s loss to Donald Trump was because of gender.
"Clinton herself had so much baggage from the past and that many Americans did not trust that she had their best interest at heart,” Hammer said.
Even though Clinton was on the Democratic ticket, Hammer, as a republican, said part him enjoyed seeing a woman on a major party ticket even though she wasn’t associated with the party he identifies with.
“It shows progress," he said.
Lauren Cross, a senior English studies major and the vice president of the Ball State University Democrats, believes the lack of women in government is a problem.
“There are more men in governmental positions because society still has not grasped the fact that women are, in fact, equal to men,” Cross said.
Even though there are women on Capitol Hill, she doesn’t think it will be enough to help.
“Without a strong representation of women in Congress this year, we might witness drastic and awful changes to women’s health. It could be devastating," she said.
Cross feels like voters need to “remove [the] lenses that only see men in governmental positions.”
“It is both alarming and devastating that as of right now [Trump] is the president-elect even though Hillary Clinton won the popular vote," Cross said.
“I wanted to see Hillary Rodham Clinton's name in that position. I still do," she said.
Caleb Dutcher, a junior risk management and insurance major and member of the Liberty Coalition, believes the lack of women in political offices is a problem but the fact that there is some progress is "what really matters."
He also thinks people are fed up with the way the political climate is at the current moment. He thinks people want change and women in government positions can help.
“I think the reason for the increase [in women in government positions] is because Americans want a differing perspective and ways to fix problems by not doing the same old thing," Dutcher said.
Dutcher also believes the Constitution was made to make sure everyone is equally represented. He said without the Constitution, there would be one group ruling the many different classes, ethnicities, genders and other groups.
“This is not how this country should be ran," he said.
Progressive Student Alliance
Morgan Aprill, a second-year master's student in the Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) program and member of the Progressive Student Alliance, believes the lack of women in the Senate is due to the “second-class citizenship” women have had throughout America’s history.
Women officially obtained the right to vote in 1920, but women of color were still barred to vote in several states up to the 1960s. To this day, there are still cases of voter suppression, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.
“Most women of color did not have the vote until the '60s. If all women couldn't vote until about 50 years ago, there is going to still be an unequal balance of power in our government," Aprill said. “Especially with the continued push of traditional gender roles.”
Aprill believes “strong female celebrities and politicians” are bringing the realities women face to a wider and more public sphere. To her, the importance of women in government is shown in the country’s population.
“Women represent [around] half of the population and our government should mirror how our population actually is made up," she said.
She said she feels like it's time for the country to have a woman president, but doesn’t believe Clinton was a viable candidate.
“Clinton's campaign and the Democratic establishment naively thought identity politics would be enough to help them win," Aprill said.
She also believes the Democratic Party is in the wrong when it comes to what the American people want.
“[Barack] Obama [and the Democratic Party] still support wars overseas, expansion of oil pipelines, a cozy relationship with Wall Street and the big banks, and blatant cronyism and corruption,” she said.