Friday, March 21, 2008

Students Respond to International aspects of "Women and Electoral Politics: A New Era?"

Maria Claudia Echavarria - “It is astonishing to see that countries like Mozambique, Chile, India and Liberia all had female leaders before the United States. The United States, although a country which strongly promotes gender equality, is also one that holds the strongest barriers for women in politics… As Dr. Norris believes, in order to empower women in politics we must do more than just believe in one candidate, we must strive to break the barriers and reform the game of politics and gender around the world.”

Kimberly Fillion – “The first speaker and professor at Harvard University, Pippa Norris discussed barriers facing women leaders, primarily in developing countries. Culture and politics, both local and regional, have huge roles in prohibiting women from having equal footage on the frontline in regards to obtaining leadership. While progress is made, there is still evidence of a glass ceiling that all women face, whether in developing or developed countries.”

Anna Miller - “I gained a number of insights during the discussion of whether we are in a new era, of how women are involved in electoral politics. Professor Pippa Norris presented very interesting research that proved that when structural constraints were changed to favor women, as in Rwanda and Ireland, there is drastic increase of women in state and national legislature.”

Melinda Heavey – “I liked how Professor Norris drew examples from global trends, not just America. She relayed that women leaders are present in only 12 countries, and not just affluent countries. Some of the poorest countries including Chile, Argentina and Jamaica were among the 12 countries that did have female leaders.”