Why More Women Are Not Running for Office

Why more women are not running for officeAlthough more women appear to be running for office, there is still quite a gender discrepancy in national, state and local officeholders.  What is stopping women from getting into the race?  According to the “Nine in 15” initiative here in Jacksonville, studies have shown that:

• Women are more likely to perceive the political environment as biased against them.

• Women are less likely to consider themselves qualified.

• Women, as political candidates, can be less confident, less competitive and more risk averse.

• Women react more negatively to “nasty” campaigns.

• Women are less likely to be asked to run for office.

• Women still are more responsible for caring for the family and home, although men are taking larger roles.

It’s that last bullet point challenge that some members of Congress are focused on–and it appears to be working. According to a recent article on TIME.com, this midterm election is seeing a surge in the hard-to-lure candidates:  young moms.  “Until now, women have typically waited until their children were older to get into politics,” states the article.  “On average, women enter politics four years later—at the age of 51 versus 47—than men, according for Rutgers University’s Center for American Women in Politics. But not so this cycle: A remarkable number of young mothers are running for Congress.”

It’s a big change that will have lasting effects.  “Having younger women in office is a positive trend because Congress runs on seniority so these younger women will have a better chance of getting the seniority needed to become committee chairs and party leaders,”says Michele Swers, a Georgetown political science professor and author of “Women in the Club.”  Current female members of congress such as Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand are actively courting younger mothers to run and offer up their own lives as examples of healthy work-life glance.  “Both say the freedom of being able to set their own schedules—and essentially be their own bosses—makes the job doable for mothers,” states the article.

Click here to read the full article.

Why do you think more women are not running for political office–what is stopping you?