WASHINGTON— Though a record number of women have been elected to serve in the 113th Congress, female legislators say gender equality is still a ways off. According to women on the Hill, female public servants will only be true equals when they can humiliate their constituents as effectively as their male counterparts.
A little known statistic, women in government only embarrass their home districts at 77% the rate of men for the same sex scandals. The phenomenon is known as “the glass floor.” A report performed by the Society for Women in Governance (SWG) found that female legislators routinely fail to sink as low, violate ethics rules, and accept soft money donations as prodigiously as men in the federal government. And while female legislators comprise twenty-percent of Congress, their censures for conduct unbecoming of a public official account for only two-percent of those on record.
Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) blames historical privilege on the disproportionate success of male legislators at disgracing themselves, their families, and the voters. “For more than one hundred and fifty years, women were not even permitted to serve in public office in this country, much less accidentally tweet pictures of their junk,” says Snowe. “There’s a learning curve to violating the oath of office, and we are admittedly lagging a bit.”
Political analysts allege the language used in media also discriminates against women in government. “’Dick pic’ is just such a great term,” says House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. “Say it a hundred times, and it’s just as funny as the first time. So it makes sense that dick pic headlines get printed A1 and stories about our ‘vulva vids’—a far less-pleasing alliteration—are relegated to four or five pages back in those same newspapers.”
SWG spokeswoman Annette Chisolm suggests the humiliation gap can be narrowed with more visible role models for young women. “Little boys have plenty of dirt-bags in politics to look up to—Mark Foley, Anthony Weiner, Mark Sanford, and now Dave Patraeus. The list goes on and on. But our female legislators are woefully self-respecting—Elizabeth Warren, Tammy Baldwin. Duckworth’s a freaking war hero. All I can say is thank God for Michelle Bachmann.”