Women's Long Road to Public Office

Mar 11, 2020  | 2 min  | Ep 2020


What I think Carrie Chapman Catt and other feminists failed to realize as quickly as they probably needed to is that while reducing legal barriers and opening up opportunities is extraordinarily important, extraordinarily important, it needs to be accompanied by social change.

And social change not just in terms of expectations for themselves, but men’s expectations for themselves, right. And so we saw that women had new hopes and dreams and opportunities and they walked into that world and they did that but that did not necessarily come along with the notion that men should, that it would be okay for men if they wanted to stay at home and take care of their children, or that they should assume more responsibilities for the home and the family. And so women ended up, carrying once referred to as the double burden, right. They had their public life, their careers, and the expectation that they are contributing financially to the family’s well-being, at the same time that they continued to carry the burden for the home and the family, what some people refer to as the reproductive labor. Who’s going to scrub the toilets and make sure the kids get their homework done, it still falls disproportionately to women.

That doesn’t leave a lot of time, or effort, to run for public office. And then you don’t see women in public office, you don’t think that women in public office is normal and typical and expected and good, right. So then when women do step forward to run, because they have been able to otherwise manage their double burden or their burden for the home and family is lessened, they’re still seen as then unusual, different and perhaps not ready or as qualified as the typical face that you would see in those roles.