Monday, August 22, 2005

Sweden Beats Us Again

Enlighten-New Jersey had an interesting post describing the lack of women in New Jersey state politics. Although Ken Adams, of Smadanek, quipped that perhaps women in New Jersey are excluded from government only because they are less corrupt, I'm interested in examining another theory that takes us back to our ancestors in the Old World.

Although Europe is not the only continent with cultural ties to New Jersey, it is by far the most dominant in state politics, and will probably continue to be for a long time, especially in light of the state's reluctance to change politically. Furthermore, the most influential ethnic groups in New Jersey have been from southern Europe, where men have traditionally had more defined roles as the leaders of the family and community-or more accurately- the representatives of the family and community. I am not simply alluding to stereotypical descriptions of Mafia-run Sicily, but to the numbers that show that southern European democracies such as Greece, Italy, France, as well as Eastern European nations that have provided New Jersey with an abundance of tradition and culture such as Poland and Russia, allow women minimal participation in government. According to the United Nations datasheet, the mentioned countries have women participating in less than 20% of ministerial positions and less than 25% of sub-ministerial positions.

In contrast, states such as Minnesota, with strong ties to northern Europe, have a significantly higher percentage of women in government. For instance, the Minnesota Senate has 23 women out of 67 members, which is much higher than New Jersey's measly 19 out of 120. Interestingly, the countries with the highest percentage of women in ministerial positions (with over 30%) were Barbados, Finland, Sweden, Liechtenstein, and Seychelles. Denmark, Luxembourg, Holland, and Norway weren't far behind.

The differences between Protestant and Catholic cultures should also be examined, although it's necessary to mention that Ireland, a predominantly Catholic nation, has a high percentage of women in government.

Is this plausible reasoning? Or are there too many other factors that I didn't take into consideration?


At 8:02 PM, Blogger Ken Adams said...

It almost sounds like it's a Celtic vs. Greco-Roman thing.

BTW, thanks for the link, although blogger seems to have mangled it a bit -- returns a 404 error.

At 1:49 PM, Blogger MyManMisterC said...

Sweden also beats us in suicide rate. So are more men killing themselves beacuse their are more women in politics? Something worth pondering.


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