- Women’s Political Leadership and American Democracy
- The Motherless State: Women's Political Leadership and American Democracy
- The American Puzzle - Why has the United States never had a female president? | Møller Institute
For over sixty years Freedom House, founded by Eleanor Roosevelt, Wendell Willkie, and others interested in the international prospects for democratic governance,7 has evaluated the degree of democratic practice characterizing countries around the world. Freedom is the opportunity to act spontaneously in a variety of fields outside the control of the government and other centers of potential domination. Freedom House measures freedom according to two broad categories: political rights and civil liberties. Political rights enable people to participate freely in the political process, including through the right to vote, compete for public office, and elect representatives who have a decisive impact on public policies and are accountable to the electorate.
Civil liberties allow for the freedoms of expression and belief, associational and organizational rights, rule of law, and personal autonomy without interference from the state.
Women’s Political Leadership and American Democracy
Freedom House scores instead reflect democratic practice, or the way people experience political rights and civil liberties. The three public policies by which the government can associate itself with social and biological maternal traits are welfare provision, gender quotas, and hereditary monarchies. Women are more likely than men to nurture and to care for others.
The reason, undoubtedly, is that over historical time and political place, and still today, though men and things can mother, women mother the most. The basic question for all people everywhere is where and how to obtain food, shelter, clothing, health care, and education.
Historically, unities formed by blood or affinity, namely families, gathered or grew their own food, built their own shelters, made their own clothes, and provided for their own health care and education. The family, and disproportionately women within the family, is also historically the institution that cares for its members when they become ill, elderly, or disabled. The market, defined as the commercial resources of a nation and financial resources of people, is a resource for care in the sense that people who are employed and who receive sufficient financial remuneration from the Defining Maternal Public Policies market or have other financial resources can purchase the materials and services necessary to satisfy their dependency needs.
Thus, a person who earns sufficient funds can purchase food, shelter, clothing, health care, and education. For people without access to family or market resources to satisfy their dependency needs, namely the poor, those needs can be met by charitable institutions, such as churches and nonprofit assistance organizations. Charitable institutions provide food, clothing, shelter, health care, and education to those who lack family or market resources. In many countries, the work of care as originally performed by the family is transferred to the state.
As Alva Myrdal notes, prior to the advent of state social security policies, people were protected from disabilities resulting from illness, old age, and other infirmities by the care provided in the context of the family as an institution. They disproportionately choose service occupations, such as social work, primary school education, nursing, or unpaid volunteer social service.
She suggests distinguishing between where the care is provided the family, charities, the market, the state , who cares women or men , and who pays women, men, charities, or the state.
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Marshall, social citizenship refers to the right of people to receive the state-provided care necessary for their 33 34 Chapter 2 survival. Thus, acceptance of care from the state is stigmatized as the failure of people to secure care for themselves, particularly the failure to provide for that care by means of market employment. According to him examples of liberal welfare regimes are the United States, Canada, and Australia. However, these regimes make no attempt to restructure the stratification and inequality of the market.
Instead they are committed to preserving traditional market structures based on class inequalities. His examples of corporatist welfare states are Austria, France, Germany, and Italy. However, they also seek to dismantle inequalities that structure the family and the market by equal- Defining Maternal Public Policies izing class relations within the market. Scandinavian countries, although they retain some liberal characteristics, are primarily social democratic states. This discriminates against women by imposing on them the necessity of a familial identity in order to be entitled to welfare assistance.
Some point to gender relations and motherhood roles as prime determinants. I expand the analysis by drawing attention to the 35 36 Chapter 2 constitutional standing of care-work in combination with the degree to which a country funds welfare provision. In the vast literature concerning the welfare state, a focus on the constitutions of such countries is usually missing. This is odd, because welfare provision is the prototypical form of social citizenship that T.
Marshall refers to as defining the modern state. The question is not merely whether a country funds programs for those in need but also whether it conceives of the state as having an affirmative duty to do so. It is odd that constitutions are so often ignored in connection with the welfare state literature, because the study of constitutions is a growing scholarly enterprise. The constitutionalization of welfare provision as another measure of the welfare state, therefore, reflects not merely the practical, but also the normative dimension of government support for the needy.
Constitutions are relatively more permanent than legislation and court decisions, and the inclusion of provisions in constitutions or in the laws of the land that serve in lieu of a constitution , represent the most enduring values of a country. At issue is not merely the Defining Maternal Public Policies absolute amount of funds expended upon welfare provision from all private and public sources, but rather the proportion of funds expended on welfare that is specifically contributed by the state.
One cross-national index of government-funded welfare provision comes from the proportion percentage of public funds spent on health care. Using the percentage of funds spent on health by the government as a measure of welfare provision, does not require that the recipients of health funding to be female. Initially health care was provided within the home, primarily by women in their roles as wives and mothers, as they nursed the sick and the needy. Later, health care roles shifted to include the market, as private providers become heath care workers.
Still, women in the service sector of the health care field remain a dominant group, as shown by the percentages of nurses who are women and the percentages of women who work in health care related professions compared to men. Although at the levels of surgeons and highly trained medical professionals there is a greater percentage of men, in terms of the health care field as a whole, women dominate the field in the market, service sector.
It is the combination, therefore, of constitutional and funding guarantees for the public provision of health care that constitutes the measure of welfare provision used here. Notably, the United States is not one of these countries. Some countries contribute at very high levels, such as the United Kingdom Such public policies may, but need not, target women as recipients of benefits.
Constitutional provisions of pensions for government employees are not included. Of course, it is not the case that the United States has no welfare policies at all. Policies such as employer pensions, targeted jobs tax credit options, earned income tax credit writeoffs, and deductions for mortgage interest payments assume that people are already in a bracket of employment and capital with the good fortune to have a job with a pension and to own their own home.
The country does seem committed to maintaining Medicaid and Medicare as basic policies addressing health needs of the American society. The point is rather that the United States does not have a heritage that views the government as having an affirmative duty to provide for the welfare needs of the disadvantaged, as shown by the silence of the American Constitution on this point and by the relatively low level of funding for health care compared to comparable democracies.
To the contrary, the gap between the rich and the poor grows greater and greater with every passing decade. What is missing is a conceptualization and implementation of the state as the entity that is expected to solve the problem of those who are hungry, without shelter, and in need of education and a job when the family and the market fail as delivery systems.
It also frames some basic puzzles. In Britain the state is viewed as an institution with an affirmative duty to provide for the welfare of the people. As children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection. They shall have the same duties. The British and the French states are distinguished not by the degree to which they fund welfare policies but by the degree to which they differ in conceptualizing that activity of the state, regarding it as an affirmative duty in the case of Britain versus a nonconstitutional mandate in the case of France.
And not surprisingly, it is in Britain, not France, where women have been elected in greater percentages to the national legislature and as prime minister of the government. Such a public perception jibes with standard dictionary definitions of biological maternalism, as in the OED, which also defines maternalism as a sex classification that is female by virtue of being the sex that bears offspring.
Thus, gender quotas in public policies define biological maternalism as a female sex classification. What is not recognized, however, is that gender quotas are a form of state maternalism, similar in principle to welfare provision. Yet, if we start by first establishing what constitutes biological maternal traits, such as a female sex classification, and then ask how that definition can be represented by a public policy, we come to the conclusion that gender quotas are indeed a public policy representing a biological maternal trait, namely a female sex classification.
By so doing, I study the impact on public attitudes toward women as political leaders of public policies representing not only social reproductive labor, such as welfare policies, but also the impact of public policies representing biological reproductive labor, such as gender quotas.
The Motherless State: Women's Political Leadership and American Democracy
Three countries 1. Thirteen countries 6. Eighteen 9. And sixtysix countries France is a special case in that it has constitutionally mandated gender quotas, and at least one political party has voluntary gender quotas. However, the meaning of gender quotas is quite different. The reverse is true, however, in the way France sees constitutional gender quotas. Rather than serving as a marker of the biological maternal difference between men and women, gender quotas in France represent the universal sameness of men and women.
In the French view, male and female thus become universal signifiers of the human race. A few other countries have considered endorsing gender quotas on this basis, but only France as of now has done so. There are at least two reasons for this discrepancy: the use of sanctions to enforce gender quotas and the variability in the percentages designated for gender quotas.
Of the thirty-one countries that have either legislative statutes designating gender quotas or voluntary legislative party quotas, only twelve impose sanctions to enforce them. What is more, even when enforced, the sanctions imposed for violating gender quotas are often very mild. In addition, the election law included a financial penalty for parties or political groupings that failed to balance the number of women and men among their candidates.
Such financial penalties, however, even if enforced, do not have a major impact on the larger political parties. Some set no percentages at all, as in Croatia and Equatorial Guinea. In Kenya the constitutionally prescribed gender quota is as low as 2. There is tremendous variation, therefore, in types and percentage levels of gender quotas across countries.
In the case of political parties, they must have been represented in parliament as recently as and , Defining Maternal Public Policies and the political party must have met its targets. Again, the United States is not among them. Hereditary Monarchies Family-Kinship Networks as Biological Maternalism Biological motherhood is more than just a female sex classification, of course.
It also refers to women who actually have been pregnant and given birth. In regard to giving birth, needless to say, both men and women contribute to the birth of a child when they contribute their sperm and ova respectively as a necessary precondition to the conception of a fertilized ovum.
The American Puzzle - Why has the United States never had a female president? | Møller Institute
Occasionally there is recognition that the monarchies in the Middle East are the most stable and reliable Arab allies of the United States. Historically the original way the family was fused with the state was in the political form of hereditary monarchies. Even though it is a fusion that entails only one family, the dynastic family, hereditary monarchies constitute the penultimate connection between the family as an institution and the state.
To be eligible to be a political ruler requires that one be born into or marry into the dynastic family. Women of the ruling family must be pregnant and give birth to replenish the pool of those eligible to be 45 46 Chapter 2 sovereigns.