After struggling for decades, American women finally gained the right to vote in 1920 when the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified. America was founded on the basis of freedoms: religious, political, and social and believes in liberty, justice, and the pursuit of happiness but in 2012 American is still a male dominated society. Carol Hanisch in her essay “The Personal is Political” says that women’s lack of rights is a political problem because the gender is being oppressed by the government. Using the Global Gender Gap Index, the World Economic Forum ranks America twenty-second regarding women’s equality behind even third world countries such as Africa and dropping from being seventeen in 2011 because female participation in American politics has decreased in 2012.
According to the World Economic Forum, “The United States currently ranks at No. 55 in political empowerment, No. 33 in health and survival rates, No. 8 in economic participation and opportunity, and No. 1 in educational attainment for women.” For example, women earn seventy-seven cent on every dollar men make. Specific social interests pertaining to women that can be voted on include pay wages, job equality, abortion, and contraceptives, which are often belittled by politicians as “soft” issues. America in obviously unbalanced when it comes to gender equality but some women choose not to vote for equal social rights.
Research yields that women vote against equalization of their social rights for three reasons that fulfill the psychological stages of the individual, group, and society. The justifications are the following: disassociation with their social group, prioritizing other issues over social rights, and the way America’s political institution is set up.
America’s political campaigns and institutions can be confusing which can lead to women accidently voting against their own social rights due to ignorance. Brown Professor of cognitive, linguistic, and psychological sciences Steven Sloman and assistant professor of marketing at the University of Colorado Philip M. Fernbach write in their piece I’m Right! (For Some Reason), “The challenge in an election season that largely takes place in the form of 30-second advertisements and fire-up-the-base rallies is that rarely is anybody — candidate or voter — asked to explain his or her positions. We typically feel that we understand how complex systems work even when our true understanding is superficial.” The main problem, as outlined by Dr. David Runciman in his BBC essay “Why Do People Vote against Their Own Interests?” is people simply do not understand how laws will affect them. As a result of this they often vote for something that might harm them or against one that will benefit them. As described above, they are easily manipulated into voting a specific way.
Women are also not heavily involved in other political aspects such as holding office but the number is rising.
Women vote against their social interests because they have been taught to not value them. To battle this negative mindset, their belief in finding political equality important needs to be validated. To engage women to vote for their civil rights women will have to combat the issues surrounding why they do not vote for their social rights. They will have to embrace being women, feel empowered to demand what is equal to what men have, and become better educated about America’s voting systems so as to not be fooled. Hopefully women can unite, vote for fair social changes, and, if they so will it, be awarded political equality regarding civil liberties in America.