Tina Fey famously quipped on SNL in 2008 that “bitch is the new black,” asserting that the reason that Hillary Clinton was trailing Barack Obama was because of a lot of not-so-subtle misogyny.
Of course it’s not just Hillary Clinton who has faced an uphill battle; many female politicians have found themselves the subjects of questions, criticisms, and scrutiny that their male counterparts never have to face.
However, a new poll from Gallup shows that 63% of Americans say the country would be better governed with more female political leaders, which is up slightly from 57% in past polls in 1995 and 2000. But not everyone feels this way: While 78% of liberals as well as 78% of unmarried women think we need more female political leaders, only 46% of Republicans feel that having more women in office would result in better government, and almost one in five (19%) feel it would be worse.
Meanwhile, four in five Americans (81%) say the U.S. would be better governed if more people with business and management experience were in political office. Which means in theory that everyone in the tiny pool of women CEOs should run for office.
Of course, a lot goes into the public’s voting decisions, and while Americans may claim to view demographic and professional backgrounds in a certain way, their final voting decisions can be swayed by many other factors. And there’s the argument that less women than men run for public office in the first place.
Still, the proportion of women in elected offices remains staggeringly low when you consider that women make up 51% of the U.S. population: Women’s representation in both the House and the Senate hovers around 20% (there are currently 20 female U.S. senators and 79 female U.S. House members), and there are only five female state governors in office.
According to Gallup’s research however, we are at least slowly moving in a more equitable direction. “Far more women have been elected to federal or statewide office in the years since 1990,” writes Justin McCarthy in the Gallup report. Maybe next we can finally stop talking about what they are wearing.