Where Are the Female Arnold Schwarzeneggers?
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"We heard that over and over again -- that no woman is ever right," Lee says of her focus groups. "They like the concept of it, but when it comes to a real, live, breathing candidate, they don't."
Lee summarizes the disparate assessment this way: "There are no female Arnold Schwarzeneggers." That is, no woman will ever burst into politics, capture the voters' imagination and be catapulted into high public office without a lick of experience.
Yet American women are a majority of the population and a majority of the electorate. They earn more than half the bachelor's and master's degrees, a level of educational achievement far exceeding that of women in developing countries. There must be some reason we don't do any better than women in impoverished, rural regions of the world where cultural norms oppress women.
Maybe it is because our culture isn't so different after all.
© 2008, Washington Post Writers Group
Marie Cocco is a prize-winning syndicated columnist on political and cultural topics for The Washington Post Writers Group. She is a frequent commentator on national TV and radio shows.