Representation of US Women in Politics

Subject: Sociology
Pages: 4
Words: 1161
Reading time:
5 min
Study level: College


The representation of women in elective positions in the United States has always been low. Elected officeholders primarily consist of males as women struggle to succeed in politics. Most challenges women face can be linked to structural factors. Although women voters are higher than men, female politicians are fewer than their male counterparts. Females may shun pollical offices due to a lack of confidence and campaign funds (Dolan et al. 20). The issue of women’s underrepresentation in U.S. politics is controversial; therefore, it is necessary to review the increasing role of women, especially within the Democratic Party, and the challenges they face.

Women Representation and Challenges

The U.S. government has three levels: federal, local, and state, with varying numbers of women, compared to men. The state legislature has the highest number of women compared to males. Since 1971, women have continued to increase in elective political positions. Currently, the state legislature contains the highest percentage of women in elective positions. There are 2,297 women in state legislatures, representing 31.1 percent of the available 7,383 seats. The number consists of 560 and 1,737 women in the state senate and state assembly, respectively (“Women in State Legislatures 2021.”). Several factors can explain why women have succeeded in politics at the state level. First, educated men and women have increased in each state. Existing scholarship shows that highly educated women and men are likely to support female candidates during elections (Dolan et al. 68). Second, the awareness created by current cultural phenomena like the Women’s March and the #MeToo movement has increased the confidence of women to run for office and subsequently win.

In most cases, such women in legislative positions do not advance to higher positions. For instance, those in state legislatures do not manage to be promoted to the presidential office. They are faced with various challenges that hinder their advancement to higher political positions. Women face barriers to entering the political scene. For instance, they are subjected to less supportive infrastructures for campaigns. The cost of financing campaigns is high and female candidates find it harder than men to raise money. Furthermore, they are evaluated using standards different from those utilized to judge men’s performance. Female political candidates are mistreated by voters since their personal lives are scrutinized, which invades their privacy (Dittmar et al. 68). Some female candidates fear subjecting their families to such kinds of scrutiny.

Women also face varying challenges depending on the government branch they seek to be elected to and their skin color. Women in presidential candidacy and other female candidates face different problems at state levels. For example, a female presidential candidate would need to raise more campaign funds than those seeking other political positions. Such an amount of money increases the pressure on women considering they find it hard to raise funds. In addition, women of color face extra challenges when seeking elective positions. Institutional racism and racist stereotypes magnify the real challenges women of color face while running for office. The lousy perception may further affect raising money as most voters may not consider a black woman’s viability due to their skin color (Dittmar et al. 70). Furthermore, safety is another factor that affects women of color who are often attacked based on their appearance.

Women of Color and the Democratic Party

It is critical to situate African American women’s political participation in politics to understand their importance to the Democratic Party fully. Black women were significant in supporting the 2008 and 2012 Obama coalitions as their turnout numbers were the highest among all other groups in the country. They played an essential role in Obama’s win over Clinton in the Democratic presidential primaries. African American women offered credibility to Obama and convinced other black voters that he could support the interests of Black people. In addition, they shunned Donald Trump and supported yet another Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, in 2016, and created a new and solid American electorate (Carroll and Fox 175). Furthermore, African American women faithfully voted for Joseph Biden in 2020 and even contributed to the first woman of color as the vice president.

The new generation of African American voters increases every four years, and it has become crucial to the Democratic Party. Democrats can attract and maintain African American voters by endorsing policies that matter to black women. Furthermore, the Democratic Party should protect the voting rights of black persons and eliminate policies that lead to disparities in the criminal justice system, education, housing, and policing. The focus of the Democratic Party should be advocating for reparations as a way to make amends for the years of slavery endured by millions of black persons. Biden appealed to black women as he vowed to promote the study of African American reparations. Although African Americans know that passing laws and policies is dependent on Congress, providing affordable housing access and healthcare, and free tuition in historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) is paramount. Another problem that could keep black women voters in the Democratic Party is combatting the racial gap in housing caused by discriminatory housing policies (Caliendo 82). Furthermore, delivering on criminal justice promises would benefit black people, increasing their party allegiance.

In addition, to issues that matter to black women, the Democratic Party can endorse more women of color in elections to increase their representation and protect the rights of all women of color. Such a promise originates from complaints from communities of color for little representation in federal positions. The strategy would help all people of color feel included in the Democratic Party’s operations. Since women of color are affected by low wages, lack of affordable housing, poor education, and racial justice, endorsing policies that support their causes would increase their allegiance to the Democratic Party (Caliendo 25). Although Democrats have promised to deliver on such issues, they should not assume that women of color are gullible.

Most women face similar challenges when running for office in various positions. However, white women face fewer discriminatory practices than women of color. For instance, white women only have to prove they have the masculinity and femininity to govern successfully. However, due to racial discrimination and stereotypes, women of color face fewer funding opportunities. Generally, women have less support than men and are restricted by caregiving responsibilities (Dittmar et al. 61). However, such challenges can be overcome by sponsoring and mentoring female candidates and increasing fundraising understanding by building relationships with potential donors, and improving strategic office placement of race.


Women continue to be underrepresented in elective positions; therefore, it is essential to review their political roles, especially in the Democratic Party. Generally, women face several difficulties while running for office, including lack of confidence, childrearing roles, and limited funding. Additionally, women of color experience aggravated conditions, such as fewer campaign funds and racial stereotypes than white women. Such problems can be solved by increasing race-based placement in the office, sponsoring, and increasing fundraising understanding for women.

Works Cited

Caliendo, Stephen M. Inequality in America: Race, Poverty, and Fulfilling Democracy’s Promise. 3rd ed., Routledge, 2021.

Carroll, Susan J., and Richard L. Fox, editors. Gender And Elections: Shaping the Future of American Politics. 4th ed., Cambridge University Press, 2018.

Dittmar, Kelly, et al. A Seat at the Table: Congresswomen’s Perspectives on Why Their Presence Matters. Oxford University Press, 2018.

Dolan, Julie, et al. Women and Politics: Paths to Power and Political Influence. 4th ed., Rowman & Littlefield, 2021.

“Women in State Legislatures 2021.” Center for American Women and Politics, 2021, Web.