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Women in Government, Experiences of

Since 1916, when Jeannette Rankin became the first woman to be elected to the U.S. Congress, and 1933, when Frances Perkins became the first woman to be appointed to a president’s Cabinet as a department secretary, and 1981, when Sandra Day O’Connor became the first woman to be nominated to the Supreme Court, women have slowly and steadily made their way into government positions. However, if the progression of women into government continues at the current rate, it will take 500 years before gender parity is reached. The research on the experiences of women in government provides both political and cultural explanations for the underrepresentation of women in government positions. The theories include the overwhelming reelection advantage of incumbents, the small number of women ...

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