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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The 20.6 Percent Isn’t Enough

Alexandria+Ocasia-Cortez.

Alexandria Ocasia-Cortez.

We need more women in office. I do not believe men can adequately represent women’s interests—if that was the case, I wouldn’t be making this claim right now. We need more women in office because each women has a unique perspective that men do not share. We do not have the advantage that men have, and we have a more complicated obstacle course to navigate. 
Women have special interests, and when these special interests go unanswered, that is when movements occur that demand attention toward the political interests of women. Women’s interests derive from reproduction, gender division of labor in homes, gender hierarchy in the workplace, gender division of caregiving, political economic needs, and war.
When it comes to reproduction, women are the ones who undergo reproductive labor, and so we have an objective interest in both control and the funding of Planned Parenthood; we have a vested interest here that men do not have. Abortion, birth control, and contraceptives, I would argue, affect women more than men, and so we have a higher interest in policies that relate to reproduction that needs to be addressed politically—a woman can better comprehend the nuances of this vantage point and act accordingly in politics. 
When it comes to gender hierarchy in the workplace, women also have a unique vantage point that would be better understood by women. The gender gap has statistically shown to expand as a woman ages, and it is something that women have a more vested interest in than men. Men aren’t losing an exorbitant amount of money long term—women are. Here it is critical that female participation occur in government, because it would be an issue of importance ranked higher on a female politician’s list than on a male’s.
When it comes to the gender division of caregiving, women are more likely to take care of children and families than men, and part of the reason is the lack of equal sharing policymaking in the U.S. We punish reproductive labor by denying maternity and paternity leave, and this discouragement takes its toll on women. We need policies that ensure that caregiving is equally divided for both genders—and to say that women are biologically or naturally more likely to be caregivers is bullsh*t; evolution shows that we are more same than we are different, and even our ancestors shared responsibilities when it came to caregiving, taking such sharing of labor further by making parenting and care a community effort, where paternity and maternity was a group effort.
When it comes to political economic needs, women also have objective interests. Historically, its shown that when population needs go up, things such as birth control go down. And we have already established that birth control is where women have a more vested interest, and so in cases such as these, we need women in political office that still have women interests in mind even if the economy needs change. 
Objective interests of women often go unheard, and the lack of a 50/50 representation of women in politics is a glaring reason why. Until we can change the percentage of women in office to be a perfect 50 percent, such will be the case. And that’s why we need more women in office, why the 20.6 percent isn’t enough.