America is competitive and we like to be first because anything less is failure. In sports, we don’t remember who got second but who won. Doing you’re best isn’t enough, winning is everything at any cost. Does this attitude get the best results? Not likely, but “American exceptionalism” needs to be dissected for what it really represents and what it can truly become.
Our society is dictated by numbers: the economy, stock market, status, bills, grades, speed limits, internet connections, weather, birthdays, waist sizes, fast food combos, and checking accounts. The numbers 6, 17, 76, 70, and 1 aren’t the winning numbers of the lottery or bingo. They show the gap in female representation in our government.
Let’s break it down: American women make up 50.7% of the population. However, the numbers in state governments and Congress reflect a different story. Out of 50 state governors, only 6 are women. There are only 17 female senators out of 100. In the House of Representatives, there are only 76 women out of 435.
In 1916, Jeannette Pickering Rankin was the first woman elected to the United States House of Representatives. She was a Republican from Montana, a pacifist that supported woman’s suffrage, and the vice president of the American Civil Liberties Union. Rankin: “you take people as far as they will go, not as far as you would like them to go.”
A nudge in the right direction is a good thing when the United States ranks 70th in the world for female representation in our legislature. We can do better than that, right? Equality is a real win for the American people and just imagine the endless possibilities. Of all the numbers and rankings, #1 still sounds good to me.