A couple of days before Elizabeth Warren withdrew from the Presidential race, I came across an article from Vox by Matt Yglesias that explained my concerns about her electability. Mind you, I had no concerns at all about her capacity to do the job; in my opinion, she and Mayor Pete were the two most intelligent and thoughtful candidates running. My doubts about her electability were based on my own life experience–experience that has led me to conclude that many Americans still aren’t ready to vote for a woman for President.
Especially a smart woman.
Talk about your “implicit bias”–there’s a very telling meme that has been making the rounds on Facebook: a man saying about every woman candidate “I’m definitely willing to vote for a woman. Just not this woman.”
On the other hand, Warren was the preferred choice of my own sons, and significant numbers of men (and women) I know, so I considered the possibility that my concerns were overblown. Vox disabused me.
In an article written before Super Tuesday, Matt Yglesias considered why Warren was fading.
There are specific tactical decisions (by both her campaign and her rivals) that brought her to this point. But a larger context to understand is that if you, like many of my friends, find the situation puzzling, that is probably because you know a lot of people who are demographically similar to yourself. I’m a highly educated white person, and most of my friends and acquaintances are also highly educated white people. Elizabeth Warren is very popular with people like us.
The reality is that there aren’t that many people like us — and there’s a valuable lesson in that, not just about the Warren campaign specifically but about some of the larger dynamics in American politics.
It’s our bubbles again. The article featured a chart that told the story: Even when Warren had fallen to fourth place in national polling, she was first with white college graduates and first with Democrats who have advanced degrees.
The problem is that politics is a numbers game, and we are not in the majority…The overall level of educational attainment in the United States is simply lower than many college graduates seem to realize.
In a way, we might consider this good news: evidently, more education does mean less misogyny, and over time–perhaps–the deeply ingrained bias against women will moderate.
But for those of us who want to believe we’re progressing down the path to equality, a recent Guardian report should disabuse us of that rosy fallacy.That report found that, globally, nine out of ten people exhibit bias against women.
Almost 90% of people are biased against women, according to a new index that highlights the “shocking” extent of the global backlash towards gender equality.
Despite progress in closing the equality gap, 91% of men and 86% of women hold at least one bias against women in relation to politics, economics, education, violence or reproductive rights.
The first gender social norm index analysed data from 75 countries that, collectively, are home to more than 80% of the global population. It found that almost half of people feel men are superior political leaders and more than 40% believe men make better business executives. Almost a third of men and women think it’s acceptable for a man to beat his wife.
This may explain the people who were willing to vote for a man who bragged about his sexual assaults, and who judged women solely on the basis of their looks. It also explains why those same people won’t vote for a woman, no matter how qualified.
According to an index spokesman, the information collected shows that on average, attitudes are “sliding back” – that anti-woman biases, instead of shrinking, are growing back.
“We’ve found that, if the current pace continues, 67 countries – home to 2.1 billion girls and women – will not achieve any of the key gender equality targets we studied by 2030.”
These countries are not just the poorest. If trends over the past two decades continue, the US will be among them.
I’d love to believe that the attitudes I encountered as a woman in law school and in various professional roles weren’t representative, or at least were dwindling. But the evidence says otherwise. We have a long way to go if we want to stop wasting 50% of the planet’s human capital.
I find this very depressing….
Happy International Women’s Day…..