What women's rights look like when the two sides come together as one.
What women's rights are when women are no longer manipulated by party rhetoric.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

That Pesky Glass Ceiling

Cynthia Ruccia

It is time to stop tiptoeing around the fact that women don't run much in the United States. It is a fact that I am going to illustrate shortly. People like to pooh pooh the notion because some progress HAS been made for women in the past 40 years. Yes, women are a larger part of the workforce than ever, women have better college graduation rates than men, women are populating the professions in ever greater numbers and in some cases exceeding the percentage of men. Why even just this week, women have been given the right to fight alongside men in combat.

All of this is well and good, but for the most part, women's advances have almost completely side stepped the advances that lead to the very top. This fact of life is largely unknown, and when the statistics are revealed, people are visibly shocked.

Part of this conversation revolves around three things. First of all, there is the false notion that women will simply EVOLVE to the top. If that is the case, the pace is so glacially slow that maybe in 200-300 years women will evolve to hold power positions in proportion to their numbers, and I'm not being facetious or sarcastic.

Secondly, there is the debate about whether it really matters if women run things. I truly hate this debate because it seems obvious to many of us that having women at the top in 50% of the positions of power would mean that women will be part of the big decisions that are made that shape our society. Admittedly we have no idea what that might look like here in the U.S., but heck, I'd love to see it for myself. Just because it has never happened before doesn't mean that it shouldn't happen. Our constitution promises equality, and this is an equality that is an ideal worth striving for. I also hate this argument because it gives misogynists everywhere cover for their prejudices. Women are just as capable as men in running things, and our country is less for keeping women out of the halls of power.

Third, and I have preached this idea since 2008 when I had my rude awakening with the sexism fest of the elections that year. Feminism, that much maligned word whose goals most people line up with but won't admit to publicly, as a political force spent all of its political capital fighting a fight that will likely go on for as long as the 237 year fight about larger versus smaller government. Nothing wrong with the fight on abortion. It is a worthy fight with excellent points on both sides. But it is a fight with no end, and to pin the future of women on a never-ending fight to the expense of all other objectives is ludicrous. The second wave of feminism had as its goal seeing women hold positions of power in proportion to their numbers, and that goal was abandoned. And like anything neglected, the growth is stunted.

So here we are in 2013, and THESE are the statistics painting the TRUE picture of where women are in our society:

Of the 100 largest cities in the United States, only 12% have women mayors:
  • Houston
  • Fort Worth
  • Baltimore
  • Las Vegas
  • Fresno
  • Raleigh
  • Oakland
  • Stockton
  • Chula Vista
  • Glendale
  • North Las Vegas
  • Irving, TX

FIVE States have never elected a woman to the U.S. House of Representatives:
  • Delaware
  • Iowa
  • Vermont
  • North Dakota
  • Mississippi

TWENTY SIX States Have Never Elected a Woman to the U.S. Senate:
Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia,  West Virginia, Wyoming

20.3% of all state Senate seats are held by women
25.3% of all state House seats are held by women

  • Arizona
  • Oklahoma
  • New Hampshire
  • New Mexico
  • South Carolina

  • 20% of the U.S. SENATE ARE WOMEN

  • Ohio has never has a female U.S. Senator.
  • Ohio has never had a female governor.
  • Ohio’s female representation to the U.S. House is 16.67%.
  • Ohio has eight female state senators. (24%)
  • Ohio has 23 female state representatives. (23%)
  • Ohio ranks #27 out of the 50 states for female representation in government.
  • Ohio has only had 11 female U.S. Representatives in its entire history.

Forbes Magazine, Inter-Parliamentary Union, National Committee on Pay Equity, Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University, Catalyst. See links on the right panel of this page.

In addition to these stats, my friend the amazing Anita Finlay sent this info:
The Fourth Estate offered up a study logging in 51,000 quotes from print and tv media in 2012 election coverage. Even in articles about women’s health coverage, men were quoted over women 5 to 1. In foreign policy and the economy, the numbers were 4 to 1 and 3 to 1. Male columnists outnumber females 2 to 1.

Men still control the narrative daily. In 2008/2010, women got 3 times as much coverage on their physical appearance as their male counterparts. Men got 68% more paragraphs written on the issues versus women.  Automatically, this indicates that women are fluffy and to be taken less seriously.

In 2010 midterms, pollsters Kellyanne Conway and Celinda Lake discovered that women fared better when they fought back against sexist attacks. Staying silent or “above the fray” was devastating to the hopes of women candidates at the polls.

You can read more on these ideas from Anita here.

In the end, people need to made aware of these statistics. They override party affiliation. They override conventional wisdom, and only by facing the truth can we ever hope to rise above our current reality. I think we have a golden opportunity at hand RIGHT NOW when there is talk of a possible woman president in 2016 to open people's eyes to the truth. I go back to what Michele Bachelet, former president of Chile, said, and that is that nothing did more for the advancement of women in her country than having a female president. Nothing. Not laws, not anything else.

We need to stop waiting for someone else to make this happen for us and start being proactive. Share these stats with everyone you know and watch their disbelief!!


  1. Great post. But, is it a "glass" ceiling or a "ceiling of men?" :-)

    Thanks for the helpful stats.

    1. you're welcome!!

      I see it as a ceiling of pure ignorance.

  2. Great post. I have to say I am really irritated to see Congress the President and both political parties, all up in arms and mobilized to be sure that non citizens are getting their "rights" but I don't see either party working for the votes of women citizens. I want to know what both parties are doing to promote the election of 50 percent women to represent us in government.

    I am sick of Democrats using the few women in government as scapegoats and revving up the abortion kabuki pageant three months before every election. And I'm sick of Republicans discussing "legitimate rape" and worrying non stop about which "immoral" ways women (who will be paying several hundred dollars a month for mandated insurance)will use their health care when they apparently don't give a rats ass if "government" is paying for ED drugs of pedophile priests or Dead bead Dads.

    1. really, neither party gets worked up about winning our votes cause we don't make them jump through any hoops to earn them. One of our main problems is that face in the mirror.....

      Better to distribute these stats far and wide. People's disbelief and shock know no party affiliation. I think that this info needs to enter the collective consciousness....

    2. So long as we are so busy fighting each other we can't carry the "fight" for equality to the voting booth.

      I cannot and will not vote for a candidate simply because of gender. But show me a good female candidate and I am overjoyed to give her my vote. My problem right now is with "liberal" women. I don't like their agenda so I cannot in all good conscience vote for them based on their gender.

      I don't expect to agree with any candidate about everything. However when a candidate, like my "new" Senator from here in Wisconsin, Tammy Baldwin,who makes me nauseous with her nonsensical rhetoric I cannot and will not, ever give them my vote.

      Any woman who babbles some talking points about a "war on women" will NEVER get my vote. She has insulted my intelligence and I find that unforgivable.

    3. ditto on the "war on women." It is an insult.

    4. I agree, I am insulted by the war on women charade. Sadly the first women to enter any male institution usually have "kissing the hairy ass directly in front of them" as their primary skill set because they have been chosen by the men who are in charge. That will likely be true of both parties for awhile, but currently we just need women in politics to get past the novelty of the situation with the goal always to improve the quality of female candidates because what we really need is women whose primary skill set is innovation on women's issues.

  3. Thanks, Cynthia.

    Two years ago, my friend and I gave each female legislator in the Texas capitol a flower and a note to celebrate Women's History Month. This year we will add your list of statistics.

    Thanks, again!!

    1. wow----that would be a great thing to do!!!! Awesome!!!!

    2. Thank you for putting together the list!

  4. So even liberal States (Vermont) don't elect women, only 4% of Fortune 1000 CEOs...........

    Is is possible that women, in general, don't want these jobs? These jobs tend to be all consuming. Do women not pursue them for that reason? For instance, how could a single mom do any of these jobs (unless she was a RICH single mom)?

    1. More likely women who step up to run for office are shredded and destroyed by media and the political parties, like Hillary and Palin were by Democrats in 2008. Seeing this other women are reluctant to run.

      What are both parties doing to encourage women to run? I want Dems and Reps to make women in government a priority.

    2. Anonymous----There is the argument to be made that some women don't want these jobs. There are also men who don't want those jobs. However, there are plenty of people of both genders who want the jobs at the top, and the stats speak for themselves. It seems to me that one of the issues that comes up over and over again is how un-female friendly the workplace is, but if 50% of the people at the top were women, I believe that that issue will be dealt with much better than it is now.

      As for a single mom, well, if she has gotten herself into a position to be even considered for the top job, she would have more resources to manage her family with to begin with. Single motherhood doesn't need to mean poverty....

    3. For every single Mom there is a single Dad out there. What's the point?

  5. Bes-----you and I dream of the same thing.

    You have to be tough as nails to run for office because you WILL be shredded. That's the game. And unless the parties see some benefit to focusing more on women, the status quo will reign.

    That is unless we women demand more. I am hoping that by putting these stats out there that we might start changing the way we talk about these things. Like Kenoshamarge, and you too, I just can't abide this whole "war on women" meme. It's an insult and itdoesn't get us anything other than showing how stupid we are for falling for such primitive propoganda.

  6. I remember the days, hangs head in shame when I heard the left insult and demean Michelle Malkin and said nothing. I let their misogynistic behavior pass because I believed deeply that the left was better for women. Now that I have been cured of that aberration I find many of Michelle Malkin's column speak to me.

    Like this one:

    Ladies Against Senator Sleaze-Bob

    by Michelle Malkin

    Conservatives are always told they don't do enough to reach across the aisle. We're divisive, obstructionist and hostile to bipartisanship. So in the spirit of unity and comity, I'm announcing the formation of a new social justice group: Ladies Against Senator Sleaze-Bob.

    Now all I need are some principled Democratic ladies and liberal media lionesses to step up to the plate with me to protest the vulgar, sexist behavior of Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J.

    Surely, Nancy Pelosi, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Cher, Sandra Fluke, Eva Longoria and I can all agree that when a powerful Washington politician abuses his power to victimize young women, we should join hands to demand justice. Right?

    Surely, Barbara Walters, Diane Sawyer, Arianna Huffington, Rachel Maddow, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Lena Dunham, Tina Fey and every card-carrying member of NOW across America are outraged by this Beltway playboy's tawdry exploitation of underage prostitutes.

    And surely, Hillary Clinton, Valerie Jarrett, Stephanie Cutter and Michelle Obama are all sickened by this top Democrat's profligate election-season jaunts to the Dominican Republic on a shady donor's private plane.

    Oh, wait. What? You haven't heard about Menendez's war on women from the left-wing War on Women brigade? Nary a progressive peep? Well, knock me over with a Code Pink feather boa. Not sure how the story could have slipped their news-savvy feminist minds.

    link: http://townhall.com/columnists/michellem....azebob-n1502619

    Funny how all those "liberal" women just aren't interested in a nasty Dem waging a war on women. Funny how those who excoriated Mitt Romney for having a "binder" on women don't seem to give a rat's ass about a man who slinks off to the Caribbean for sex parties with young women, reportedly including a 16-year-old minor.

    Funny how when Martha Raddatz interviewed Menendez just last Sunday she didn't ask on single question about this issue. Funny huh? Maybe not so much funny as another in seemingly endless examples of liberal hypocrisy, mendacity, double-standards and bias. It's not funny at all. It's very, very sad that women participate in this corruption.

    It is one more reason why I will never be a gender voter. Because a corrupt woman pol, or an ideologically corrupt female pol is just as bad if not worse than the male of the species. IMO worse because they have a chance as they emerge as a powerful voting block to be so much more. For the most part they passed up the chance.

    1. That was a great addition from Malkin Kenoshamarge! Thanks for sharing!

    2. "Surely, Nancy Pelosi, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Cher, Sandra Fluke, Eva Longoria and I can all agree that when a powerful Washington politician abuses his power to victimize young women, we should join hands to demand justice"...."Surely, Barbara Walters, Diane Sawyer, Arianna Huffington, Rachel Maddow, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Lena Dunham, Tina Fey and every card-carrying member of NOW across America are outraged by this Beltway playboy's tawdry exploitation of underage prostitutes."

      The thing is the Democrat party is currently trying to appeal to stupid voters who will never notice the hypocrisy. Democrats used to appeal to idealistic people who would have noticed.

      I really resent the idea put out by the Democrat party that Eva Longoria, Cher, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Lena Dunham and Tina Fey are leaders among women. Did you all know that the largest demo that watches "Girls" is 50 and old men? Clearly it does not reflect the life of early 20s women but rather the fantasies of old men.

  7. Me too Bes----the idea of the "War on Women" and of the list of women you mention leading me to ANYTHING is absurd. My goal is parity for women at the top with a minor in better media portrayal of women. None of those aforementioned women has had anything to say about those topics that I am interested in hearing.......