WOMEN POLITICIANS 6
Politicshas always been part and parcel of governance from time immemorial,yet the issue of women being part of the government administrationhas been present for quite some time. although the U.S has been ableto incorporate women into the administration and politics, othercountries, especially in Africa are still yet coming to terms withthis change. Basing on the ethical principle of utilitarianism, thequestion of whether female politicians should be treated in the samemanner as their male counterparts has been further explored in thispaper.
Thedoctrine of utilitarianism is a theory which is quite complex in itsunderstanding. It tends to support the notion that an action is rightin magnitude if it promotes happiness and wrong if it promotes painand displeasure. The quality and quantity of the pleasure orhappiness must be put into consideration for this theory to befunctional. It explains further that the best moral action is onewhich maximizes utility which is the quantity and quality of pleasureafter the subtraction of pain and suffering in any action orsituation. It supports that the action performed should be directedat producing the best results or consequences possible in such a waythat the greatest number of people are happy or pleased (Mill,2005).
Thereare different reasoning as to why women are not given the priority torun for bigger political positions including the level of education,family responsibilities, double standards and lack of “toughness(Pew Research Center, 2015).”However, some of the major reasons to this political phenomenon isthat most voters lack the readiness to vote for women. In this paper,the theory of utilitarianism has been implemented to analyze if themedia should treat the women politicians differently than their malecounterparts. Based on this theory, the media should treat womendifferently if at the end of the day, the biggest population willbenefit from that. This means that if women politicians get treateddifferently and at the end of the day the voters, women and menpoliticians are pleased then it is right. However we cannot assumethat all parties will be pleased hence the situation may vary basedon the parties who form the majority.
Themedia has for a long time been one of the major sources ofinformation and their reports are usually conveyed in a manner thatcan easily affect the perspective of the viewers towards theinformation. The light in which a person is conveyed has an effect onthe final outcome on how people will perceive that particular person.Women politicians do not usually receive the media coverage as muchas male politicians which may lead to the perception that they do notactually do a lot. It is evident that when a woman is elected to apolitical position the media would most probably focus on the sexmuch more than the educational and efficiency aspects of thecandidate. On the other hand, male counterparts receive adequatecoverage and portrayed as being in much more control of the position.A question therefore arises as to whether this representation shouldbe done in the same magnitude.
Theprinciples of utilitarianism can help to find a solution to thisdilemma. The differential treatment can actually be beneficial to thevoters who will be able to get the true picture of the candidate. Thetendency to expect different treatment for women politicians hasfound root and more often than not (Vos, 2013),it is common for people to seek for any traces of incompetency in thefemale candidate and as indicated earlier, this is not a practicethat started recently but has been in existence for a long time. Agreater part of the population would benefit from the differentialtreatment whereas the fewer female politicians may be subjected tothe treatment which they may not like. Finally, the number of womenpoliticians is quite low compared to the male and therefore thescrutiny given to women with regard to their ability to run forpolitical positions is not farfetched basically because of historicalnorms and therefore application of this theory would support thestatement that “the mass media should treat women politiciansdifferently than their male counterparts”. This is supported by thereality that the public has demonstrated skeptism as to whether womenare capable of surmounting the challenges that impede them fromreaching top leadership positions(Pew Research Center, 2015).
Thereis quite a substantial amount of controversy surrounding thisapplication of utilitarianism in this scenario based on severalaspects. As mentioned earlier, women politicians are scrutinizedbased on their abilities to perform efficiently with respect tofamily responsibilities. In addition women are scrutinized based ontheir manner of dress, talk, efficiency and even command. However,men are also scrutinized on the same aspects albeit on a lower scalecompared to their female counterparts. The male politicians havefamily responsibilities too they wear differently, talk differentlyand even have different degree of command or toughness (Harris,2014).It is possible to find male politicians who are irresponsible and are“soft” while the direct opposite could be true whereby a womancould be tough and perform her duties as efficiently as the man orpossibly better. In simple words, differential treatment by the massmedia could be misleading to their audience and ultimately, it couldlead to the election of a male politician who may not be as efficientas the woman politician(Center for American Women and Politics, 2015).
Subjectto contention is the convention that women can be able to cope withthe pressure and all the scrutiny and examination by the mass mediajust like the men. The point is that at the end of the day, theirviews about issues are what matters the most. This platform couldalso be a stepping stone for the woman to demonstrate her ability tohandle matters and sustain the heavy load of controversy and judgmentand the capacity to rule (Terkel,2012).
Theapplication of ethical theories is a task that requires utmostscrutiny and examination in order to ensure that the situationpresenting will be effectively managed by the particular theory. Asit is in the representation of women politicians by the mass media,it is imperative that the media should be able to address theexpectations of the viewers who may want to know their candidatesbetter. However, the way in which this is done should not subject thecandidates of either sex to conditions that may otherwise bedetrimental to their aspirations and which might be, to an extent,misleading to the viewers and/or voters. Creating equilibrium betweenthe male and female representation is key in the application of theutilitarianism theory. On one hand, utilitarianism has the advantageof providing confidence that a certain female politician is really upto the task depending on how she will stand out. However it may alsobe misleading by misrepresentation leading to loss of an otherwisecompetent politician.
Centerfor American Women and Politics. (2015). Womenin The U.S Senate.3: July.
Harris,R. U. (2014, November 13). Reasonswhy there aren`t more women in politics and business.Retrieved March 2, 2016, from The Business Journals:http://www.bizjournals.com/bizjournals/how-to/growth-strategies/2014/11/5-reasons-why-there-arent-more-women-in-politics.html?page=all
Mill,J. S. (2005). Utilitarianism.Jonathan Bennet.
PewResearch Center. (2015, January 14). Womenand Leadership.Retrieved March 2, 2016, from PewResearchCenter:http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2015/01/14/women-and-leadership/
Terkel,A. (2012). HistoricNumber Of Women To Serve In Next Senate.Huffington post.
Vos,D. (2013). The vertical glass ceiling: Explaining female politicians`underrepresentation in television news. TheEuropean Journal of Communication Research, 389-410.