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Why has a woman never been elected President?

January 25, 2010 Leave a comment

Throughout the world, women have risen to prominence in politics in almost every corner of the globe. These women have served in offices from prime minister, to governor-general, to president. In most cases, these amazing women have performed their duties equally as well as their male counterparts. However, in a world of increasing political equality with women rising to the pinnacle positions of political leadership, one glaring exception remains: the United States. 

Why has a woman never achieved the office of President of the United States? This question has been pondered by many, but no singular, conclusive answer has been presented. Some have stated that women are not psychologically as strong as men or are incapable of taking decisive action in crises; however, this has been disproved the world over by leading women in their respective countries. If the reason for this anomaly is not linked to a psychological of physiological difference, then what is the real reason for the lack of a female United States President? 

The reason for this omission can be inferred from a simple survey of American history. America is a teenage country as it relates to the history of the world. Many of the countries where women have risen to leadership have been around for thousands of years or  gained independence and established a government in the modern era as women were rising to prominence. America was founded at a time when women were harshly subjugated. This plays a vital role in understanding why more women have not risen to political prominence in America. Women fought for hundreds of years in countries throughout the world to be seen in an equal standing to men. With America being so young, the fight for political equality is just now gaining steam. 

To put this in historical perspective, it is pertinent to examine the time line of the prominent feminist movements and achievements in American history. The first wave of feminism bubbled to the surface in regard to gaining suffrage. This feat was not accomplished until the 19th amendment was ratified in 1920. The second wave of feminism arose in the 1960s. Both of these movements have garnered women many rights that took hundreds or thousands of years for women to attain in other countries. These rights were achieved in two and a half centuries in this country. That is a great accomplishment. Instead of looking at the reasons that a woman has not risen to presidency, perhaps it would be more prudent to look at the reasons a woman would make a strong leader in the United States. To do this effectively, one can look into the resilience that women have portrayed throughout the history of the world. 

Adversity strikes every generation regardless of geography. Historically, women have been the glue that have held families together, doing whatever it takes to maintain the household from nursing wounds to entering the workforce. Often, these women place the needs of others in front of their personal needs. This is a rare quality in a leader, but an important one. This resilience and empathy can be seen every day when a single mother works one or more jobs in order to provide properly for her children. Sacrifice is a principle that women embody for the sake of others. 

Women have overcome destitution throughout history through hard work and determination. This ability remains with women today through the same means. However, in the United States’ economic system, poverty-stricken women have many more opportunities than their historical counterparts. The current crises that women face regarding health care, discrimination, parenting alone are different in name from the adversity that their historical counterparts faced, but the quality that maintained women during the plague is the same quality that maintains a woman who is facing gender discrimination today. A woman’s ability to rise above adversity is a very attractive quality on the resume for female leadership in the United States. 

It is only a matter of time before a woman is elected to the office of President of the United States. It will take a woman who is able to captivate the hearts and minds of the American people, as well as, presenting a strong leadership style. This country is ready for a female to lead, the only question that remains is, when will the right woman rise to the top and take the office?

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