Women Who WinSeptember 25, 2009
The preliminary results from a recent Stanford University report say that women in Congress are better lawmakers than men.
Researchers considered various factors, including the differences of agendas between Congressmen serving their final term and Congresswomen who are serving their first. The study’s overall results show that women are generally more effective lawmakers than their male counterparts based on their ability to introduce more bills, to attract more co-sponsors, and to “bring home more money” for their districts.
Rush Limbaugh recently spoke out about the research, claiming that the guidelines weren’t sufficient to be “the measure of success” in lawmaking. He implied that women just spend a lot of money (does he mean shopping?) and that women are able to attract more co-sponsors because, as he put it, “We all know what’s going on there.” Can’t he even consider that women just make good lawmakers?
Not surprisingly, the research suggests that women have a tougher time being elected to office, face aggressive challenges as women and, because of their own self-doubt, struggle to raise more money than men. But, as a result of the hurdles they faced in their election, women end up stronger and more ambitious in their efforts to get things done once they are in office.
I commend women who have faced such challenges and demonstrated how hard they work once in these positions. But there are too few women to be studied; Congress is still only 17 percent female. There is still a strong need to empower young women and girls to take their place in elected office, whether it be as president of their middle school class or president of the United States. Women and girls should not be undermined by any biased attitude that hinders their confidence and drive; they should be brought up knowing that their skills and knowledge as women are vital to raising and sustaining healthy communities.
Let’s start encouraging the girls we know in our own lives to get out there and run for office! AAUW’s Campaign College is one program that empowers college women to run. Take part in this great effort to make sure that women and girls get the support that they need and tools that they deserve to run for office and win!