In discussing numbers of women in office, the question arises about why we should care that more women serve in elected positions. Three ways of answering that question are:
- It is fair
- Society needs their talents
- They make a difference
The matter of fairness becomes particularly important when addressing the barriers to women achieving elective office and raises the questions of why they are not included in an affirmative manner. As for talent, this concept, which encompasses knowledge and experience, recognizes that women have a demonstrated track record of educational achievement, and leadership in political and civic affairs that is useful to society and therefore should not be ignored.
Making a Difference
Making a difference means that having women elected officials shapes a different outcome in the public policy process. Research studies, including seminal studies conducted by the Center for American Women and Politics, show that "despite differences in party control, political climate, and ideology...., the presence of women made a difference in shaping the terms of debate and in the public policy outcomes."