Free Essay Example: Political Representation for Women

Published: 2023-11-08
Free Essay Example: Political Representation for Women
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Women Politics Human rights
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1745 words
15 min read


Feminism is a term that describes a wave of politics, cultures, and economic movements whose main idea was to fight for equal rights and justice for women (Corrigall-Brown 100). The first feminist movement can be traced back to the 19th century, slightly after the Marxist agenda of capitalism. The pioneer of the feminist movement is journalist Martha Lear. She began by writing an article about women and equality. She titled the topic of the New York Times Magazine, 'First Wave Feminism.' Feminism, as a concept, contained different structures as a movement (Corrigall-Brown 100). The women within the movement were trying to achieve so much that they represented different themes. It was quite clear that the feminist movement was not going to make equity all at once, which prompted three waves of feminism. The first wave began in the early 19th century and focused on de jure inequalities (Corrigall-Brown 182). The second wave started in 1960, while the third wave started in the 1990s. Each wave of feminism was responding to the perceived failure of the earlier waves. As mentioned earlier, each wave of feminism focused on a semi-structure within feminism. In this analysis, the focus is to discuss just one aspect of feminism throughout history. Political representation of women is something feminists have been fighting for since the beginning of the movement. Although political representation is highly associated with the first wave of feminism, its effects, and procedure are still being felt to date. In this analysis, the focus is to look at the history of political representation., the current state of representation, and the possible future of political representation of women as a feminist structured idea.

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History of Political Representation as a Feminist Idea

As mentioned earlier, political representation is highly associated with the first wave of feminism. The main idea of feminism was to ensure that women were equally politically treated as men. The main concern about women in regards to feminism was that women represented half of the potential talents and skills within society and humanity. However, women were underrepresented in the decision-making process that required governance. Women would not access political leadership and resources even though they played an essential role in society. In the first wave of feminism, the first issue among women was to promote equal contracts and property rights for women. The corresponding agreements and property rights among the women opposed the ownership of women to their husbands. The mentioned targets were easily achieved before the end of the 19th century (Kantola 326). After the two were easily achieved, then came the first wave that demanded equal political representation and participation for women. Journalist Marth Lear led the group that required equal political rights. Martha Lear and her feminist group demanded that women be granted the right to vote as a way of making women feel part of the political representation process. After a lot of struggles where feminism activism used all means including litigation, advocacy, and public education, the article of the constitution was amended. The 19th Amendment of the American Constitution was passed at the end of the 19th century allowing women to choose their leaders through voting. In the year 1919, as the first wave of feminism came to an end, the feminist in America had achieved their first step towards political representation by being granted the right to vote.

Even with the right to vote, feminists still felt the need to address further political representation. The feminists felt that voting alone did not solve the political inequality that existed between men and women. In the second wave, the target was to encourage more women to seek political power. Betty Friedan, a champion of the second wave of feminism, wrote a book titled, 'The Feminine Mystique.' In her article, she aimed at asking women to drop having fulfillment in serving their husbands and staying at home. In the text, Friedan analyzes that women are victims of a male-dominated society that has placed false beliefs in women that they can find identity through becoming homemakers. As depicted in the text by Friedan's second wave, second-wave feminism wanted women to come out of their comfort zone and seek political representation apart from just voting. The second wave slogan that proved more demand from women is, "The Personal is Political." The main aim of this wave of feminists was to help women reflect on how their personal lives influenced sexist power structures. The main objective was to get women to decolonize their minds from these sexist structures as a way of achieving more political representation of women.

The second wave of feminism made a massive step in contributing to women's political representation. In the year 1968, when women were pushing hard to have women not just be voters but seek political power, their ideas were supported by functioning pluralist democrats (Bryson 155). The democrats acknowledged that women should be allowed to seek political power. During the same period of second-wave feminism, the democrats proposed several human rights mechanisms that were established to help women participate in the political public sphere. The prior condition of many regimes was to find a legitimate way of democratically, including women in their political process. The government regimes were obligated to establish mechanisms that would legitimately include women in the political decision-making process.

Feminists from the second wave were convinced they had done a lot to allow women to participate in political activities. However, in the early 1990s, the third political wave of feminism arose following the failure of the second wave. The third wave of feminism came with a lot of issues. However, in the context of political representation, they wanted a binding agreement that would prove women were recognized and allowed to participate politically without discrimination. In the year 1994, women through the UN charter were permitted to participate in public and political life (Bryson 123). The UN charter recognized the principle right of women to equality and prohibition of discrimination. During the same binding agreement, the UN vowed to undertake measures that would not only end political discrimination against women, but also protect women from discrimination in legal systems, political systems, and within the influential organization. This vow by the UN gave rise to the political rights women restated in Article 7 of the UN. In the article, women are allowed to vote, hold public office, and to exercise public functions. Lastly, the convention had a binding agreement in section 8, where women are allowed to represent their countries at the international level equally. From this article, women were assured of political representation, but that is unlikely to be achieved in the current state of events.

The Current State of Political Representation as a Feminist Idea

Currently, the strategies and the laws in most countries are well documented and support the political representation of women. However, there exists a low ratio of women in legislative bodies both in new and established democracies in the world. The goal of realizing full representation is yet to be reached because of the following factors: cultural factors and socioeconomic factors.

Social-economic factors like poverty limit the political representation of women. Women are economically not empowered to participate in politics. Instead, men who have money dominate the political scene. Even when the capacity is created in legislative bodies to have more women represented, the lack of finances and empowerment leads to an imbalance in the ratio of men and women within the legislative houses.

The second reason is the presence of a cultural-political environment that does not favor women. Styc (2018) asserted that the political arena is arranged in a way that supports male norms, values, and a masculine lifestyle (154). As a result, it is difficult for women to break into this type of male-dominated style of politics. The male-dominated form of politics requires aggression, confrontation, and a lot of verbal competition. Women are not conversant with this style of politics, and so they reject it by not wanting to participate in political representation. Women who are likely to break into political leadership are those who focus more on social issues like health and social security. Otherwise, a female political-seeking leader displaying feminine behavior is always considered less of a leader or unaccepted in politics. Worth mentioning is that a woman with male authoritativeness is condemned for being disrespectful and labeled very degrading names. Having analyzed the current situation of the political representation of women, below is a discussion of the possible future of women's political representation.

The Future of Political Representation of Women as a Feminist Idea

Going into the future feminists, and like-minded parties should limit the idea of the legislative method as the only way of women's representation. Universal suffrage was not just achieved to lead to representative legislatures alone. Feminists should allow women's participation in political representation to go beyond electing a large number of women legislatures in parliament (Kantola 324). The main goal is to level the playground for women leaders so that politics is viewed as a public domain and not a male area. When women and men see politics as a public domain and not a male domain, the resultant effect is that more women will show up in the political arena leading to a rise in the political representation of women.

Although modern feminist movements are pushing for more leadership in parliament through strategies like the two-third gender rule contributing to the realization of more women in the political sphere, the ultimate focus should be to change the mindset of the public regarding politics. Politics is for the people, and not for men.


The rise of feminism has led to strides in the political representation of women. The movement has achieved rights by allowing women to vote and achieving universal suffrage. It has also allowed binding agreements that would enable women to participate in political activities without being discriminated against. Lastly, the predicted focus of the feminist movement in matters of political representation is to change the public mindset regarding politics. The change in public mindset will lead to an effortless increase in women in decision-making bodies. The above assumption is based on the fact that the population of women is more than men.

Works Cited

Bryson, Valerie. Feminist political theory. Macmillan International Higher Education, 2016. (230-456)

Corrigall-Brown, Catherine. Imagining Sociology: An Introduction with Readings. Oxford University Press, 2019. (100-156)

Kantola, Johanna, and Emanuela Lombardo. "Feminist political analysis: Exploring strengths, hegemonies, and limitations." Feminist Theory 18.3 (2017): 323-341.

Styc, Caroline Kendra. "Do Women Represent Women? Feminist Theory in Political Representation." (2018). (140-178)

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