Anthropology Research Paper Sample on Women in Politics in Modern History

Women in Politics in Modern History


Politics has always been regarded as a man’s game because of the gender perception of candidates. Theories such as the glass ceiling, gender affinity effect or gender mainstreaming try to reveal the way women have changed and now hold relevant political positions as perceived by the public as well as the media. However, even with is changes modern history still asks the same question, do otherpolitical stakeholders relate to women candidates, for instance, same way they relate to their malecounterparts?  This introduction of equality concerning the gender issue, has led researchers as well as several theorists try explaining women in ‘Modern politics’. This articleaims to understand the vital dimensions intoday’s political field byanalysing theperspective of women in modern politicsin respect to gender dissimilaritiesthrough political history, as placed by the public and the media as they are the most persuasive elements of drawing a woman politician.

Paper outline

  1. Introduction
  2. Women Political Liberation
  3. Women perception in modern politics
    1. Media perception
    1. Public Opinion
  4. Conclusion


The role or influence of women in power allied positions is anissue that has drawnscholars’ knowledge in the last twenty years. The subject of gender variation in politics has not been of key political science interest to researchers until the early 80’s (Griffiths,349). Prior to the 1980s the roleof women inareas allied with issues of power as well as prestige were noteworthy only to a few historians who stressed that, on the scene of the political history, ladies were majorly playing secondary roles. The main reason to this rational is the ‘glass Ceiling’concept.The concept asserts that it is impossiblefor women to develop onthe scale of professions and go higher than they already have. The concept similarly suggests that  women  do  not  lack  motivation  or strong  will,  nonetheless  they  are  kept as under performers due to invisible obstacles (Lorber, 19).  The ‘glass ceiling’ is defined as ‘those simulated barriers founded on  attitudinal  or  organizational  prejudice  that  prevent  competent  individuals  from  advancing high in their organization administrative or professional positions’ (Martin, 32). Twenty years later, one can see evidence ofan evolution of the glass ceiling concept that exists in a different manner. In order to understand how modern politics has accepted women’s influencein politics this paper will analyse the role ofthe media in portrayingthe ladies thathold power related position. Studies by Gidengil(21),shows that the mediaplays avital role in perpetuating stereotypes as well as setting standards for (women) political candidates.

Women Political Liberation

Nowadays modern history face what appears to be a shift of power public strategies, strategic designs,  as the  public  as well as  the  private politics stakeholders entirely  seem  to  embrace  a  shared  notion regarding gender and social  equality,  in addition toimpartiality  of  opportunity. However all this notions had a platform set in the 1980s. Prior to the 80s politics, foreign affairs as well as leadership were male associated areas, consequently this meant that ladies were alliedwith the privateand personal circles oflife, for instancetheir families. However, on 26thAugust 1920, a day title ‘the  day  the suffrage  battle  was  won,  women were constitutionally allowed to vote  in  the  U.S, New  Zeeland,  parts  of  the U.K, Norway, Finland, after a long wait since the 1800s. From this period to this date women have been actively involved in key political roles coming to a point where women desired as well as acquired senior political positions and not just voting right. Nevertheless current  political scientist and publics find themselves asking how this process moves on additionally what part gender plays in  relations to an individual regarded as weak can hold  aninfluential  political  position. ‘The significant contributors to ladies’ high parliamentary representation came from a blend of socioeconomic, cultural, as well as institutional influences interacting with women’s mobilization plus party activism’, states Galligan (561).

The change of the political field has seen a transformation of women from just individuals with voting rights to political leaders in some places. Ladies political doings have been thought to take two forms of political leadership concepts which are explained through the two types of leadership theories regarding women.  The first theory termssome women politicians‘acting like men’, whichconsequently hasanadverse effect on the way ladies are perceived. This notion from the media compels the public to have a rationalconflict that occurs as a valid inconsistency between what it reflects and believesregarding the behaviour of the female candidates. This theorytends to draw a notion that gender playsa role that ay make the candidate seem not worthy of trust. The second theory on the other handhighlights the dissimilarities between the conductof men and women, though theaction might be similar (Lorber, 1994). Modern history now holds that a lady may be judged more than a in the modern political field. In reference to the two theories the best way to have a standard measure of women in modern politics is by using the media and public perception which consequently play a significant part in portraying the image of female candidates.

Women perception in modern politics

Media perception

The wide spread channels of media from the contemporary forms that included news on televisions and radios as well as newspaper prints the media has undergone a great evolution. News and information can now be accessed through portable modern electronic devices which provide the public political information conveniently. For instance, Hillary Clinton a female candidate can interact directly with her electorates through social media, similarly news rooms such as CNN can conduct a digital survey and post results to the public through this means. From the above example we can see how the media can positively draw a notion on a candidate positively or negatively. In respect to this earlier studies regarding women in politics as  depicted by the media have revealed that female politicians are displeased  with  the  manner  the  media  portrays  them (Gidengil  &  Everitt,  2003). Most female political candidates suggest that the mediadoes not do a good job in presenting woman politician as it emphasizes on their physical appearance, therefore neglecting the more substantial aspects, like the political agenda. This is supported by the fact that the media has been credited for coining the term ‘women behaving like men’ just because some women counterparts adopted masculine features to stand out.

According to the media ladies  have  the  trend  to  become  more  masculine  in  image  as well as speech,  so as their image as weak political stakeholders. Political analysts such as Gidengil and Everitt call this behaviour ‘talking tough’ (2003).The reason behind this behaviour is ‘gendered mediation”.Gender mediation (mainly employed by the media)suggests that politics is male dominated and owned entityconsequently constructing politics in stereotypically masculine terms (Rakow &Kranich, 1991).The concerns of gender mediation are experienced in the way the actions of women politicians is gauged and scrutinised by the media which in turn take a glassCeiling effect. The media usually places a perception thatwhenlady politicians are feminine they are branded weak as well as untrusting, on the other hand, when they  are  aggressive, they  behave like men attracting  negative reactions. Similarly,whenthe speech of women politicians is aggressive or combative, the media compels the public towards perceive that the person is being violent (Gidengil & Everitt, 209).This is not the case when it comes to male politicians. When a lady candidateinfringes the norms in media expressions, her behaviour is scrutinizedto show her as bad. For example, former U.S foreign affairs secretary Condolisa Rise was usually painted as violent and aggressive as the media placed it that she behaved like a man.  If a male counterpart does not act in accordance to the stereotypes, he faces less consequence, ‘since men’s claim to leadership is unquestioned’ (212).

From the explanation one can see that through history women politicians are hindered by invisible barriers. Modern politics is different to that of the 1980s however it is clear that havinga prospect and exploiting the chanceis not the same thing for men and for women in politics. The only big difference between the political field in the 1980s and now is that not all public view aggressive women as violent, as placed by Gidengil  &Everitt, study that explained that women constituents prefer a powerful  speech  in a ladycandidate, whereas most men would approve of the reverse. In other words, the female constituents like having someone to represent their needs as well as opinions regarding political matter for example abortion, human trafficking, work opportunities just to mention afew. Men, contrariwise, would rather hear another male politician’s talk about such issues.

Public Opinion

Dolan (2007) studies suggested that most female electorate are more willing to vote for female candidates. King and Matland called this “the gender affinity effect” (2003). The perception of group solidarity characterise the first causeof the notion that female constituents are more likely to show the gender affinity. Additionally, a female electorate may vote for another lady due to descriptive representation. Another significant reason could be ‘the interaction of sex and a set of ideological or partisan sympathies’ (Dolan, 80). This effect has been attributed to be one of the biggest drives women have had to hold an identity that may clash with the media.


In conclusion, the political field has changed drastically after the 26th August 1920 date where women political rights were liberated. During this time ladies only played a minor role in politics as voters, however modernisation of politics has seen women politicians play major roles in this respect. Regardless of the modernization of politics to be more gender sensitive through the liberalization of politics rights it is clearthat the role of women in politics is a subject that needs further consideration. During the 1980s many political players saw the role of women as secondary due to the glass ceiling effect. During this current times the glass ceiling exists but in a different notion from that of the pas. This is due to the image the media paints women politicians. However, the situation is changing with the ability of individuals connecting to their constituents on personal level through avenues like social media hence reducing the impact of media imaging.

Work Cited

Dolan, Kathleen. Is there a ‘Gender Affinity Effect’ in American  Politics?:  Information,  Affect  and Candidate Sex in U.S. House Elections. Political Research Quarterly, 61.1 (2008), pp. 79-89

Galligan, Yvonne. Gender   and   Political   Representation:   Current   Empirical   Perspectives. International Political Science Review 28(2007), pp.557-570

Gidengil,  Elisabeth and Everitt, Joanna. Talking Tough: Gender and Reported Speech in Campaign News Coverage. Political Communication, 1091 – 7675, 20.3(2003), pp. 209–232

Griffiths, Martin. Relatii Internationale: Scoli, curente, ganditori. Bucuresti, Ziua. Google Press, 1992.

Lorber, Judith. Paradoxes of Gender. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1994.

Martin, Lynn. A report on the Glass Ceiling Initiative. Washington, D.C.: U.S.  Department of Labor, 1991.