Soraya Chomoly and Marya Stark of the Women’s Media Center present a troubling report on US democracy’s gender politics: when Senator John McCain cast a “no” vote for the ill-fated Republican repeal of Obamacare, he was hailed in the press as an independent. But when Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski did the same, they were called traitors to the Republican party, offline and in public.
Georgia GOP Rep. Buddy Carter said on national television, “Somebody needs to go over to that Senate and snatch a knot in their ass." Texas GOP Rep. Blake Farenthold said if Murkowski and other women GOP senators were men he would challenge them to duels. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke sent what Alaska GOP senator Dan Sullivan called a “threatening message,” about his department’s punishment of Murkowski’s Alaska in response to her vote.” Online comments were worse.
Those female US senators aren’t alone, Chomoly and Stark say, citing a 2016 Inter-Parliamentary Union survey of women in legislatures around the world, which found:
- 42% report wide distribution of “extremely humiliating or sexually charged images.”
- 44% receive death, rape, beating and abduction threats
- 33% were harassed by persistent, intimidating messages
- 62% believe the harassment is aimed at blocking women’s pursuit of leadership.
Think this a picture of OTHER countries?
True, Republicans have a bigger problem with women than do Dems—three times the numbers of women get elected as Democrats. But regardless of party, US women are shockingly underrepresented. The numbers of Republican party women would rank the US 165th out of 193 nations, right alongside patriarchal Congo and Mali. Tracking Democratic women in Congress would rank the US 38th in the world, right after Switzerland‑a country that finally granted women the right to vote in 1971.
We agree with WMC. More Republican women would help the party stay sane; more women on both sides of the aisle would make Congress more functional. Sexual harassment is nasty and costly to women—and also to our nation.
Thanks to CNN's Dana Bash, Senators Collin and Murkowski, and WMC's story, linked here: www.womensmediacenter.com/speech-project/what-women-politicians-online-harassment-tells-us-about-degraded-democracy