Dr Joel K. Goldstein, a scholar in U.S. Presidency says America is on the way to attaining women representation in government that would be commensurate with the female population in the country.
Goldstein, who is a respected specialist on U.S. Vice Presidency and Constitutional Law, observed that the selection of Sen. Kamala Harris as the running mate of the Democratic Party’s Presidential candidate, Joe Biden is a reflection of the change in America’s political sphere.
Goldstein made the assertion at a webinar while briefing selected journalists from across the globe by the U.S. Department of State – Bureau of Global Public Affairs to cover the 2020 U.S. election.
He said that women were largely excluded from government, but that was fast changing with women increasingly taking up major roles in the public sector.
“Historically, women were largely excluded; that is changing, now there are 26 women in the U.S. Senate, 17 democratic and nine republicans.
“About 25 per cent of the House of Representatives are women; women have not achieved representation commensurate with their number in population but it is tending in that direction.
“The selection of a woman Vice Presidential candidate is part of that process; if the Biden ticket is successful, it will be the first time in 59 presidential elections that one of the two national officers selected would be a woman.
“It is a part of historical evolution in a way that opens opportunities to more members of the country,” he said.
The constitutional specialist explained that women had become a more integral part of decision-making process unlike in the past.
He recalled that there were very few women in the parliament in the 1960s and in the 1970s saying the recent wave of change had opened up opportunities for groups hitherto excluded.
“This is the first time we are having a woman running for Vice President on a ticket in a very competitive election; the last two previous times in 1984 and 2008 when women ran, the ticket was really far behind in the polls and less competitive.
“This goes a long way to show the change in American politics; if you look back at what the U.S. Senate, Governorship, House of Representatives and the cabinet positions looked like in the 1960s-1970s, there were very few women who were taking on major roles in public life.
“One of the ways our democracy has changed is that, over time, positions are opening up to groups that traditionally had been excluded.
“So that in 1984, there is no single democratic woman in the U.S. senate at the time; there was only one woman who was a democratic governor at that time in Kentucky.
“There are very few women that served in president cadre cabinet, there is only one woman who was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court by a Republican President,” he said.
Goldstein said that contrary to what was obtainable in the past, the role of the Vice President in the U.S. government had gained more attraction.