Women in Politics: Well-behaved and mostly scandal-free

By Vinesha Rice

Image from Flickr

For some time now, men have been the perpetrators of most of the political sex scandals reported by the media. In an article posted in the New York Times, Michigan Representative Candice Miller raised an intriguing point: “Female politicians rarely get caught up in sex scandals.” If you take a moment to think about this, you’ll notice that there is some truth to this statement. These scandals may just be instances of men behaving badly and the media taking advantage of a public figure misbehaving. But the fact remains, women are less likely to get caught in these situations. 

The article suggests an interesting difference between men and women in politics: “women run for office to do something, and men run for office to be somebody… Women run because there is some public issue that they care about, some change they want to make… and men tend to run for office because they see this as a career path.” Women respect the power that their political position gives them to make change happen; therefore, they are less likely to do something that would remove them from that position or diminish that power. Some men, however, see political power as a personal tool and way to get ahead. Although, this idea should not be generalized to all men in politics (and I’m sure there are many well-meaning, crusaders-for-the-good, male politicians out there) this statement speaks to power differences between men and women. Men in political office (as well as other high powered careers) automatically have power. Women in political office (or other high powered career), have to prove it. As the article suggests, women in powerful positions still have to prove that they are qualified for the position they hold.  They have to work harder and make careful decisions because of the constant scrutiny and the expectation to fail. This makes women more conscious of what other’s think about them; therefore, they are less likely to do anything embarrassing or scandalous.

What this can also mean is that women in powerful political positions make more careful and conscious decisions; thus making them better decision-makers. Some men in politics, as the recent news has shown, have clearly made some bad decisions lately. And aren’t these folks supposed to be making important decisions on our beahlf as our public servants? So when it comes to our public interests, wouldn’t you rather have someone in place that respects her political power and makes careful, conscious decisions, than someone whose loose consideration for the power he holds can result in bad decisions that can land him in the middle of an embarrassing sex scandal that ultimately distracts him from doing the job he was elected to do?