Women in power

It’s not really new to anyone in our country (at least I hope not) that women are underrepresented in our government these days. However interestingly enough, studies show that female interest in politics has increased. So why has  their political involvement remains stagnant? Only a about  18%  of women in the United States participate in any leadership positions in the United States government.

This number is  is even far less than that of the developing nations. Uganda has a 49% participation rate which is a dramatically small figure considering the many factors that have propelled women forward in the political and business frontier within the last century. Even though some gracious people acknowledge that women have reached gender parity, this should not be a platform for complacency  as “gratitude never radicalized anybody.” I believe that Several factors have negatively impacted female participation in United States politics. For example women’s responsibility for childcare along with the belief in their qualification for the position, and the lack of confidence in their ability.

The lack of female representation in elected government positions is  a multilayered problem. Fundumentally a democracy is about representing all people, and women comprise over half of the population of the United States however their representative voice is lacking. The consequences of this lack of representation have been exemplified by recent health care dialogues by the Trump administration.   In a round table Trump posted concerning women’s health care in his proposed bill there were no women present at the table. The less representation, the less legislative advocay for women’s issues takes place. One reason the prospect of cutting planned parenthood is on the table is due to the small number of women in government positions. Female leaders such as Nancy Pelosi and Tammy Duckworth sit on many committees and are entrusted to represent women in all issues, while men are allowed to gravitate to their area of expertise.

Although there has been significant progress in women’s rights, women are for sure still chained to the stereotypical gender roles the major one being  that women bear the significant responsibility of childcare and household affairs.

A major reason women don’t run as much as men is what is called the ambition gap. According to New York Times study men are twice as likely to consider running for office as women. The Times suggest the reason for this is that society rewards men for ambition, but not necessarily women. Women are socialized to be hesitant about promoting themselves. Personally I believe that the times reason behind women not running for offices frequently is true. This is because women are still forced to live through the labels that men have set in older times and are slowly trying to break them. Based off my experience, men are in most cases more assertive in how they deal with people where as women tend to be hesitant to speak up due to possible negative reactions.

A survey conducted by the American University of Washington D.C. in 2001 supports this fact. The same survey conducted a decade later in 2011 shows little has changed regarding women’s familial responsibilities. The problem with women in politics does not lie merely in the presumption that women are burdened with family responsibilities, but rather because there is a cultural idea for women to harmonize the role of “working woman” with quintessential housewife. This desire to achieve a “balance” illuminates the complexity in choices faced by women, inapplicable to men. The phrase “having it all” is a myth that impedes upon ambition, until a single basic truth is revealed: no one can have it all. In the words of Sheryl Sandberg, “Being a working parent means making adjustments, compromises and sacrifices every day.” Dispelling such belief in superhuman gender roles (and in effect, recognizing that women are human) will lend power to the rise of female politicians and opportunities in the United States.




Let’s talk about sex baby

The deliberation that I chose to attend this past week was about safe sex and sexual abuse. I decided to attend this topic not only because it actually fit into my schedule but also because I felt that it was a very relevant and important topic for college students. The students who held the deliberation were great with involving the audience and seemed to know what they were talking about. In addition to these students the audience was very good in actually interacting with the panel and discussing the topic. Though everyone did participate in the audience there was a police officer in the back that I believe created the involved environment.

The first approach for this deliberation was very smart to start with and was really important for the rest of the deliberation. This approach presented and defined all of the terms in relation to sex and sexual violence. The group needed to begin with this as the definitions helped the audience have some background information that was necessary for other approaches of the discussion to build off of. All of the definitions that were presented were pretty specific and helped to really clear up any confusion in between the terms such as sexual assault and sexual harassment. Something that I found to be very interesting was that the definitions for these terms could differ depending on what state or country you were in at the time.

The other approaches in the deliberation were very interesting because they involved the students on campus, as well as the campus administration. There was one approach that really caught my attention and it talked about a bunch of notification systems and prevention resources that I had never actually heard of. In addition to the text messages that I get, the “Timely Warnings”, there are two other main sources of notification. What does it say about PSU if it’s students don’t even know about these resources? One of the discussions revolved around the frequency in which the timely warnings were being sent. There are multiple warnings sent out every week, sometimes every day depending on the week. In my opinion the repetition of seeing these notifications seems to take away the severity of the impact that the warnings have on students including myself. I’m sure that the higher the frequency that the alerts are sent out, the less people seem to notice them.

The police officer that I mentioned in my first paragraph, brought up a very interesting topic.She told us that the university is obliged to notify all students and staff when there is a report. Regardless when the act occurred, the notification must be sent out. Furthermore, most people do not want to admit all of the information, and the qualities of the individuals are all “unknown”. This results in having things like race, height, sex, weight, eye color, age, etc. be unknowns. This is unhelpful in identifying the suspect and results in students paying less attention to reports.

This deliberation really helped open my eyes to specific terms and their definitions. In addition it was super cool to be able to hear the point of view of the students directly before and after the information provided by the police officer who actually knows laws and is around these situations.

Abortion Vs Religion

In today’s society you can’t escape hearing updates about our new president Donald Trump and his policies and actions. Recently, President Donald Trump signed an executive action on Monday reinstating the so-called Mexico City Policy. This policy bars international non-governmental organizations that perform or promote abortions from receiving US government funding. When this news reached the media people, especially women, all over were outraged and were right to be. When the media presents the signing by saying “Surrounded by a crowd of men,  Trump signed the policy, initially put in place by the Reagan administration, but was rescinded by the Obama administration in 2009,” it generally pisses women off. Not only are men deciding what women can and can’t do with their bodies, the actual policy wasn’t clearly outlined so it was a terrifying change for women everywhere. I mean when I heard this news I almost cried I was so scared however I wasn’t aware it was abortions in foreign countries, not that I am for or against that.

I believe that women everywhere were afraid of bills like this being passed and this is why the Women’s March was a great step forward and represents general issues in a variety of directions. One constant theme was the protection of the Women’s March itself. The march was also a way of helping our country cope with this huge change in our country because as humans we fear change so uncertainty tends to breed fear. My intervention in this blog isn’t about the Women’s March nor is it about Trump and his abortion bill although it is related. In this blog post I will focus on the role of American religious organizations overarching influence regarding abortion laws.

The debate over abortion has been around since I can remember and varies from pro life to pro choice but my question is why should it matter? The way the argument has been going makes it sound like abortion is no longer a matter of biology but rather is a religious influence. This always rubs me the wrong way not only as a women who is pro choice and not very religious (not that being religious is a bad thing) but also from just a citizen stand point.  I don’t understand why this issue has come to our governments attention. Yes most religions have taken strong positions on abortion and believe that the issue encompasses profound issues of life and death, right and wrong, human relationships and the nature of society, and  that makes it a major religious concern, however is it  my understanding there has always supposed to have been separation of church and state for a reason so why has it meshed together as one again?

The abortion debate asks whether it can be morally right to terminate a pregnancy before normal childbirth.

According to BBC “Some people think that abortion is always wrong. Some think that abortion is right when the mother’s life is at risk. Others think that there is a range of circumstances in which abortion is morally acceptable.” This debate should be a matter of ethics and morals not religion however I am aware that there is a very thin line between them.  This line should be clearly drawn but everyones religions say what is right and wrong and not al of them say the same thing.

I believe that we should stop viewing abortion as an ethical/ religious debate and view it merely as a biological choice. Why must we make a decision over one persons beliefs? Everyone believes in something different so if you believe abortion is murder, don’t have an abortion but let those who either need one or want one have one. Views on abortion vary but we should all have the right to do what we believe and we shouldn’t force our views or opinions on other people. Don’t you agree?






Civic Issues 1

Over the course of these five (or four i’m not sure which) I will discuss topics of individuals and  their rights such as women’s issues and the effects they have on our society both now and the future. For my first civic issues blog post I will be discussing women in the military. Not only will I talk about the pros and the cons of this issue I will also attempt to present and analyze both sides of the argument on this topic in a neutral light in addition to speaking my opinion, even if it turns out to be an unpopular one. I grew up in a military family as my father is currently a major in the reserves, my grandfather served active duty and many others in my family have served as well. This being said I have personally always been an advocate for equal rights in the military.

The history of women in military roles dates back to seventeen seventy five where women could serve as laundresses, cooks, nurses, and administrators. These were their roles until about nineteen seventeen, when women were officially permitted to join the military in the last two years of world war one. This law allowed around thirty three thousand women to join as nurses and support staff. Around nineteen forty one through nineteen forty five, during world war two, four hundred thousand American women served either at home or abroad in strictly non-combat roles.  In nineteen forty eight congress decided to pass the “Armed Integration Act” finally entitling women to veteran’s benefits. The late 70s allowed the first women to be admitted to the U.S military service academics where as the early 90s authorized women to serve on combat ships and to fly fighter jets. A huge step for military women. In recent years women have been allowed all military positions  as well as permitted to to apply for combat positions. These decisions give women the opportunity to fill more than 220,000 U.S. military combat positions.

As history shows women have been a part of war almost as long as men have however their inclusion and benefits have been slowly growing over time. When researching this information I thought it was crazy that it took until the early 90s for women to be allowed in actual combat positions. Like when I think 90s I think of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air not women’s rights. Although women now play major combat roles there is still much controversy over them being on the front lines and in special units such as Army Rangers and Navy SEALS.

One view on this issue is that it’s not just a women’s issue but a men’s issue as well. According to the New Boston Post “putting women in the thick of battle also will affect the way men fight and live or die.” This article by Charlotte Hays states that ” combat on the front lines requires qualities associated with manliness. Those include physical strength, courage, sacrifice, and an ability to engage in necessary brutality.” This article also presents CMP, The Center for Military Preparedness, an organization which opposes women in combat and was able to obtain an Army study. This study showed  that women were injured at more than double the rate of men during combat training. This discrepancy applied to women in basic combat but also in vehicle maintenance for combat and front-line engineering jobs. Another public opinion on why women should not be placed into combat roles isn’t about the woman herself but the men who serve with her. A common belief is that a wounded female soldier poses a special conundrum for the male soldier. Does he rescue her, even if it means turning his back on several wounded male soldiers, or does he let her die?  This poses an important question is it societal norm that is keeping women from being able to serve their full potential.

Although there are many problems that arise from women serving in the military including concerns of sexual harassment/ assault from people including our new president, Donald trump, why should women be excluded from a job opportunity that she wants to apply for and have historically been apart of?

There are many reasons” why” women will never have equality in the military however should we as a society let these opinions get in the way of a great step in the right direction? What do you think?

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