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Women and Politics (Kentucky)

November 17, 2010 in Political history, Social history

Can you see much diversity in this picture of the House of Representatives?

The United States as a whole ranks 84th in the world for gender diversity in the government.  Kentucky does not refute these statistics, because it is diversity challenged just as the nation is.  The argument that women are not in politics because they just do not run for offices, is a lame excuse, it goes beyond just not running in elections.  It starts out that we live in a white male patriarchy society, when women run for offices it is seen as unusual and does not go along with the norms.  They are also subject to scrutinity because shouldn’t they be taking care of families and be at home while the men do all the work?  This is a traditional way of thinking that is still present in much of the United States, especially in the southern states.  If we look at the history of women in politics it is not a very long list of names compared to that of men because women did not gain the right to vote until much later and the traditional roles in our society did not back up women running for offices.

In Kentucky’s House of Representatives currently serving there 13 females and only six black members (not females).  There are no black females serving.  “Of the top 7 leaders in the state of Kentucky, all are white and only one is a woman.”  In comparison to other states, Kentucky only accounts for .01% of African Americans elected officials throughout the country.  The only states that have less African American elected officials are North and South Dakota and Montana.  Also, Kentucky is actually ranked as one of the lowest in the country for female elected officials, right along with Albama and Louisiana. (See the “Political Participation” research report on the Kentucky Commission on Women website, women.ky.gov/ffp.htm.)

The recent statistics that show barely any diversity throughout the state of Kentucky, shows that there has truly been little change when it comes to equalization of politics, gender and race.  I think it is sad that so many individuals during the civil rights movement fought hard for equal rights and representation, yet this state has done little to implement these changes.

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I got most of my statistics from this handout by by Emily McKenzie, Christopher Perkins, and Anda Weaver (Berea College students in “PSC/WST/AFR 202, “Women and African Americans in Politics”) for a workshop on November 22, 2008 for the League of Women Voters of Berea and Madison County, “Gender and Racial Diversity in Kentucky’s Public Offices? Running for Office: How About You?” Accessed November 17, 2010.  http://lwvbmc.org/pdfs/research.pdf

3 responses to Women and Politics (Kentucky)

  1. This journal really made me stop and think; when I generally think of politics I automatically think old, white men. Times really did change when people such as Nancy Pelosi, Condoleeza Rice, and, of course, Barak Obama were elected into office, but reading your statistics seems as if little has changed with who we elect since our Founding Fathers. Hopefully in the future more people are given a chance, especially women who are often seen as people who could never lead a country. This is unfortunate since a lot of women are just as qualified, if not more-so, than the people in office right now.

  2. What do we as a nation have to do in order to make the country more diverse. The amount of men to women in our local and nationwide government is truly discouraging to anyone trying to make things more diverse on a gender based level. It is even more unfortunate that the racial barrier is even worse. .01% of the nations African American government positions are in Kentucky? This is just sad and dissapointing. The long lasting views that people pass down through the generations that women should be at home cleaning and running the family needs to stop. Clearly being uneducated and baised towards progressive thoughts like this is real problem. In order to change this, we need to start with the children and the education that they recieve. It’s no coincedence that Kentucky is near the bottom in elected women, elected African Americans and in public education.

  3. This is crazy! It is 2010 and we just swore in our first black president. We still haven’t sworn in our first female president yet! This journal is correct in the accessment of this growing problem. 84th in world is not acceptable.

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