Koofi for President!

nFtRXWKIn the last several American election cycles, we’ve seen women featured prominently on major party tickets. The results, however, have obviously been less than stellar.

This of course speaks to a larger problem. As I’ve said before, women are woefully under-represented on the American political landscape. For example, according to this document, less than 25% of elected positions nationwide are held by women.

In this country, politics is a cultural institution firmly gripped by male privilege.

A litany of factors hold women back. A lack of access. A lack of power. A lack of funding. The stubborn persistence of a “good, ol’ boys network.” Unhelpful, incorrect yet persistent stereotypes that hold that women cannot lead.

All of the above.

And then there’s a woman’s appearance. That’s right, what a female candidate wears matters. A lot. According to this study, when women are physically described in a new’s report, their approval rating plummets. Here’s a quote:

“Another study presented participants with profiles of ‘candidates’ Jane Smith and Dan Jones. If participants only read the profiles, the woman emerged with an edge. But that edge was eclipsed immediately, as soon as physical descriptors — like ‘Smith dressed in a brown blouse, black skirt, and modest pumps with a short heel…” — were added to a “news story.'”

Friends, this is America. In 2013.

Perhaps we can learn from…Afghanistan.

Afghanistan? Again? Yep. Consider the courageous story of Fawzia Koofi:

“Surviving an assassination attempt by the Taliban, Koofi continues to campaign for the 2014 Presidential seat. Because traditional Islamic culture views women as property, Koofi’s courageous campaign and leadership stirs tension among some Afghans – particularly the Taliban. Resigning herself to the idea that she might, one day, be killed by the Taliban, Koofi continues fighting for women’s rights and is undeterred on her journey to becoming the first female President of Afghanistan.”

How’s that for guts?

At the start of the new congress earlier this year, Foreign Relations expert David Rothkopf tweeted this:

“So glad we now have 20 women serving in the Senate. Only 31 to go until we have proportional representation. At this rate, that’ll be 2380.”

Not another 367 years of male privilege in the political world! Let’s hope for and work for a day when women can run for office on their merit as candidates, both here at home and across the world in Afghanistan.

Follow along with Koofi as she campaigns for the Afghani presidency here. Or follow her on twitter @FawziaKoofi77

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