Thursday, October 17, 2013

Are Women in the Senate "Good" ?

         If you haven't heard, the government shutdown ended October 16th, 2013 (day before the beginning of the debt ceiling fallout) thanks to... women! Hurray! But wait. The problem I have is the condescending nature of the language some men on the senate have taken to saying which is "Women in the senate is a good thing," which was stated by Senator Mark Pryor. I might add he said it in a tone that meant women in the senate is actually a good thing. There are two ways to think about the statement. One way is that there still really is an issue in government if they believed that women in the senate wasn't good thing or perhaps there presence made no difference. The other way is what does it matter that the people who came together across party lines to settle an agreement on the budget and debt ceiling debate were women. There seems to be an assumption that women are the only people capable of cooperation:"Klobuchar said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Wednesday that the friendships the Senate women have developed will help them work together to craft a long-term budget without the counterproductive barbs that some politicians throw at each other when they don't agree (Bassett)."  This type of thing suggests not only that men are incapable of exchanging ideas in a manner where they can compromise, but also that women are capable because they are assumed to be more gentle and not as aggressive. Women disagree all the time about many things. I argue that it is indeed coincidental that the solution came from women. The solution came from people who took the lives of suffering people and perhaps the potential political benefits they could gain into consideration to solve this issue. They stand to gain more politically on both sides of the aisle solving this issue than continuing this childishness they "firm leadership." So in other words, smart, considerate, and open minded individuals solved this issue. In my opinion, being a woman was not a factor.
          This language brings to light the lack of recognition women are getting in the United States senate today, which is quite similar to the student government at Colgate where not only are the women not recognized and their voices silenced, there also aren't very many women to begin with in comparison with the men in the SGA.
        The lack of women or lack of different gendered voices other than men is quite concerning. I am not asserting that there should be more women than men. Similar to the debate of the affordable care act presented issues for women's health, the lack of different voices( race and gender) in the SGA actually risks dividing the campus even more. Without the recognition of the successes of women and their ideas, not only do we miss valuable perspectives, you leave out the lives of almost half the university. However if we adhere to the second thought process of thinking about gender, I must correct myself by saying its not just women's ideas or "their" ideas. They are good ideas that just so happen to come from women. No matter the school of thought you choose, the "Government Gots' Issues."

What do you think of this issue?
I recommend you look at this article and the video attached here.

Bassett, Laura. "Men Got Us Into The Shutdown, Women Got Us Out." The Huffington Post. 16 Oct. 2013. 17 Oct. 2013 <>.


  1. The simple fact that a man said "Is women in the Senate a good thing?", and is thus thinking about 'women' as a singular entity, and not a group of actual people speaks, volumes to his POV.

  2. The fact that these words are just being said now disgusts me. Although I disagree with how the senator phrased his statement, it is almost more gut-wrenching that it's 2013 and women are finally getting credit. At this day and age we shouldn't have to say women were a prominent roll in a decision, they have been slowly growing in numbers within the senate and should already be considered in major decisions. For the senator to outright need to say that credit should be given to women shows that the country in general still views the senate as completely male dominated and women are just elected and dormant. The country also does not see that when women are elected into such offices, they are so spectacularly qualified for this job because the majority of elections are against the stereotypical male senator.

  3. I think it is a great that women were the ones to come up with the solution in order to avoid the government shut down, but I do not like the responses of other members of the senate. It seems as though these women were not just praised because they had solved an issue no one else could, but they were praised because they were women. The men almost seem surprised that this plan came from three women and claim the reason to be a woman's compassion and ability to work together. This is a stereotype that almost undermines what these women accomplished.

  4. I completely agree, I believe the lack of women in the government is extremely concerning. However, I must say that it is also very insulting that when a women comes up with a bright idea people seem shocked that she is capable of such intellectual thought. When a bright idea is brought forth by a man it is hardly mentioned that a man formulated it, it is usually just assumed. However, when a woman has a solution or idea it is almost always acknowledged that a female was the mastermind behind it. Thus, until it is realized that these are simply good ideas that happened to come from women and the emphasis is taken off gender, there will always be an inherent inequality in the government and on our campus

  5. I wonder if the friendships are so prevalent among the women in government because they have to band together for safety among too many men. I wonder what would happen if the government had equal numbers of men and women, would women still need those friendships and still have the ability to work together? Or would it end up the same as a male dominated government? Is cooperation something inherently feminine? Or is it just the solidarity that allowed women to come up with a solution? These guys are still essentializing women, and I agree that their tone is very patronizing. Maybe the women were able to come up with a solution because they're good politicians, not because they're women!