1. Regarding women’s political ambition
Encouraging women’s political ambition may not conflict with personal choice, if we approach in terms of equal access not just equal opportunities. Rather, women could enjoy much more choices through the encouragement against suppressing environments. Why women’s political ambition is less developed?
It seems to be natural that women are less ambitious than men. Women are inherently less ambitious? According to Richard L. Fox, it is educated or given from unfavorable environments for women. He explains gender differences in ambition for office seeking these four factors: 1) gender differences in external support to run for office, 2) family arrangements and interests in office holding, 3) self-perceptions of electoral viability. For example, gatekeepers, such as party officials or elected officials, significantly affect the candidate pool during the process of recruitment, and they tend to prefer male candidates. Women have no choice but to work hard than men, or they may give up their desire. Also, family arrangements and personal interests are critical in establishing political ambition. Even though, there have been much improvement in women’s social status, women still confront “double bind”: work inside and outside the house at the same time. Third, self-perceptions for elected officials are different for men than women. Women are likely to be more modest about their achievements and underestimate themselves. These characteristics make it difficult for women to self–promote and campaign. Reflecting my experience, it is more obvious. There have been a few male colleagues who have political ambitions in the Korean government and their ambitions were recognized from people around them. They have started to build their careers and established political networks, and some of them have succeeded as a mayor or other electing positions. However, I’ve never seen female colleagues who have political aspirations or interests, even though they have similar profiles and achievements as male civil servants. Political ambition may be a very basic and important skill or talent to run office. The cases of successful women Politian
Margaret Thatcher, Nancy Pelosi, Kirsten Gillibrand. They are all notable and powerful women politicians. It is noteworthy that they have one common ground: grown up in the political family. This is not a mere coincidence. Their fathers and family members inspired them to be a politician and grow a political ambition. With family’s supporting, they learned how to enhance her political capacity and career.
Their cases verify that how environments and education are influential to formulate political ambition and establish and overcome an unfavorable political environment. Unlike other normal girls family background and education environment has made them encourage run the office, and challenge for the higher positions and goals.
How can we encourage women candidates?
Sylvia Hewlett’s Off-Ramps and On-Ramps models: pull factors and push factors also have some implications in women’s political participation not only economic activities. These two powers enforce women not to represent their voices. Women’s low political ambition, like their low interests in seeking male oriented offices, family arrangements and self-conceptions can be a pull factor to stay in their current positions. First, Education and training in family and schools could be a one of the solutions to support women to challenge to run office. Social systems that make women have work and life balance are another important solutions such as public child-care facilities. Unfavorable political systems like the male-oriented culture can be a push factor to push them out of the ring. Institutional reforms such as quotas or electoral system reform for women’s participation could double the effect.
To improve the in-equality and lessen the gap between genders, we need various...
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