How money and politics affects:
While women vote in greater numbers that men and make up over 50 percent of
the population, the presence of omen in elected office does not reflect these
In 2010, a little less than a quarter of state legislatures were women and
90 out of a total 535 members served in the US Congress. Why does the face of
the US Congress not reflect the voting strength of women or the proportion of
women in American society? This answer has to do with money: specifically a
campaign finance system that favors incumbents.
America’s campaign finance system is dominated by economically-
interested funders. As conservative forces of the status quo, the special interests
that provide the bulk of financing for candidates tend to support the “old boys
club” that has long been the hallmark of American politics. Our politicians and
their “cash constituents” look like a small, narrow slice of American life.
The existing campaign finance system is fundamentally unfair and anti-
democratic for all but an elite few in American society, but it especially so for
women. It works against women and their interests in two significant ways: good,
qualified female candidates have a difficult time raising money and therefore
mounting serious campaigns; and, the issues that women, along with many other
Americans, most care about, are not given a fair voice due to the overwhelming
influence of special interests and their campaign donations.
Today, women have a difficult time running for office and winning. Given
the disproportionate number of male incumbent elected officials, more women
run for office as challengers. Under the current system of privately-financed
campaigns, challengers traditionally have the most difficulty raising money
because of their name recognition is much lower than that of incumbents. This is
true despite the hugely successful efforts of EMILYs List, the National Women’s
Political Caucus, WISH List and other organizations whose primary goal is to see
that women are elected into federal office.
Taken from “How Women are Affected by Money in Politics” by Public Campaign, 1320 19
Street, NW Suite M-1, Washington, DC 20036, also from “Fast Facts” published by the Center for
American Women and Politics at Rutgers University.