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Petty issues diminish women’s leadership

In the 21st century, the reality of a woman being elected as president of the United States is closer than ever. It’s also more distant than ever.

According to TIME only 20 percent of political positions are currently held by females. Six out of 50 state governors, 18 percent of city mayors and 3-of-9 supreme court justices are women.

According to a study by Vanderbilt University, 40 percent of nearly 140,000 bills proposed in the House of Representatives in the last 40 years were introduced by women.

A study by Zenger Folkman showed peers rate women to have an overall effectiveness of 54.5 percent versus 51.8 percent of men. They also tend to excel at producing results because of their nurturing nature, which promotes engagement among those under their leadership.

In the 2012 presidential election, 71.4 million of voters were women in comparison to 61.6 million men.

These studies have proven women are fully capable of handling the responsibilities of civil servanthood, the public approves of their leadership and women are voting, so why aren’t there more?

It’s because everything is focused on what a woman does or doesn’t do as a woman, not what a woman does or doesn’t do as a politician.

Here’s an example: A meme has been floating around social media saying, “Hi, I’m President Barack Obama and I have Direct TV. Hi, I’m presidential candidate Ben Carson and I have cable.” Underneath is a photo of Candy Carson, Ben Carson’s wife, in a patriotic, yet frumpy skirt and blazer set compared to a photo of a much younger and more fit Michelle Obama in a custom-made Vera Wang gown.

Hosts of “The View” called presidential candidate Carly Fiorina’s face “demented.” In 2012, Hillary Clinton was criticized for wearing her glasses, having her hair in a ponytail and surprising lack of makeup. Her appearance almost overshadowed her work in India as secretary of state.

Women often abstain from going into public office because of criticism about the impact of work on their abilities to be good wives and mothers and whether or not their hormones impact their leadership capabilities. Men don’t face these types of criticisms.

Actress Jennifer Garner said no one asked her former husband Ben Affleck about his ability to juggle being a dad and working as an actor.

“As a matter of fact, no one had ever asked him about it. And we do share the same family,” Garner said. “Isn’t it time to change that conversation?”

If women have crow’s feet, it evidently doesn’t matter what bills they propose while in public office. If they have dark circles under their eyes, it evidently doesn’t matter how many people approve of their leadership. If women have less than a stellar fashion sense, it evidently doesn’t matter the American Journal of Political Science said they secured $50 million more per year for their districts than men.

With two women running for president, maybe it’s time to stop being concerned with their appearance and personal lives, and be concerned with what they stand for on the big issues.

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