The Disadvantages Faced by Women in Politics

As I have already mentioned in a previous post, I am taking a Women and Gender studies course at Brock titled Gender and Politics. The course is interdisciplinary, meaning it intersects with women and gender studies, political science, and sociology. In my seminar on Wednesday my class and I had a great discussion based off of the assigned readings for the week, with such readings discussing the ways in which women are at an automatic disadvantage when they engage in politics.

The reading we examined provided numerous examples of how women are subjected to media scrutiny when they are involved in politics, and it also noted how such scrutiny almost never impacts men in politics. We agreed as a class that society has dictated politics to be a masculine realm, meaning when a woman engages in politics she is seen as inferior because of her sex. We were asked to read an article that focused on nothing more than Kathleen Wynne’s pant suits. The article failed to acknowledge any sort of information regarding Wynne and her political affiliations, and instead emphasized the idea that because Wynne wears pant suits as opposed to dresses or skirts she makes herself appear more masculine and is therefore taken more seriously as a political figure.

It is articles like these that are incredibly detrimental to the reputation and image of women in politics. Why is it that the media feels obligated to focus on what a woman in politics wears as opposed to what she is doing for politics? It is apparent why women fail to be taken seriously in their political endeavours considering this is the type of public acknowledgement they receive.

I find it disturbing that in order for a woman to be taken seriously as a political figure she must exude masculine traits or behaviours. Politics should not be categorized as a gendered occupation, and quite honestly I feel as though politics could benefit from the presence of women.

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