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Women, Ego, and Politics

By Matthew Yglesias on July 6, 2011 at 1:45 pm

"Women, Ego, and Politics"

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Kirsten Gillibrand’s desire to see more women in politics is laudable, but this sub-aspiration seems doomed to me:

In fact, Ms. Gillibrand goes a step further, arguing that an infusion of women into the political system would go a long way toward changing the tone in Congress, a male-dominated world of fiercely clashing egos.

“We tend to be more results-oriented and less concerned with getting the credit,” Ms. Gillibrand explained. “The female approach is more conciliatory and less combative. We tend to use a more civil tone.”

If it’s true that women are less egomaniacal than men (plausible), then this seems to me more likely to be a reason that women are underrepresented in political office than to be something that increasing women’s representation is likely to change. The system is biased toward egomaniacal people being more likely to succeed and get ahead. We may need to encourage more little girls to grow up to be ego-driven and combative if we want to see them running for office.

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