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New Study Finds Women Under Represented in Elected Office
Written by Michael Papich   
Monday, 30 March 2015 14:32

RALEIGH - North Carolina's last governor and two of our most recent senators were women, so one might think the state represents women well in elected office.

But David McLennan, visiting professor of political science at Meredith College, studied the number of women in elected office in North Carolina and says the results do not suggest equal standing.

"About a quarter of elected offices are held by women," McLennan says. "To put that in context, 54 percent of the voters are women so there is an under[representation going on here."

And McLennan says the divide is more prominent in particular areas of the state.

"We often talk about an urban and rural divide in North Carolina and we see that in office holders," McLennan says.

This divide between rural and urban parts of the state when it comes to women in elected office is part of what led McLennan to conduct this study.

"There was a sense of satisfaction that women had been represented by a governor and two U.S. senators so things were going pretty well," he says. "In my experience, particularly in rural counties in North Carolina, things weren't quite as good as you might indicate."

McLennan's study also demonstrates the value of having women in office.

"Women tend to run because they want to solve problems," he says. "The research on men, not that men don't want to solve problems, but often times they run, particularly for higher office, because they want to be in power."

McLennan also points to studies that show men are 60 percent more likely to see themselves as leaders than women, even when both have the same qualifications.

 
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