Critical Thinking

Under-representation is the activity of making citizens’ voices,

of women is “widely regarded as a problem, and a substantial number of political
parties have adopted measures to increase the number
of women elected” (Phillips, 2009). Hanna Pitkin’s
concept of descriptive representation “declares that individual elected
officials who share similar demographic and empirical characteristics of their
constituencies that have the necessary
understanding to assess and construct representative policy” (Kurebwa, 2015
For this reason, representation of women is important
because the voices and opinions of women are not being heard. To
demonstrate, the membership of the 115th Congress (2017-2018) particularly “in
the House of Representatives “consists of 110 female Members (20.3% of the
total membership) serve in the 115th Congress” (Manning,
This is an example of under-representation of women because the gap between the
female and male members of Congress is
vast, the 20.3% cannot represent different types of women. Moreover, Pitkin’s
definition of political representation is arguably one of the most
straightforward explanations. Pitkin suggests representing is purely to “make
present again” meaning, political representation is the activity of making
citizens’ voices, opinions and perspectives “present” in the public policy-making processes. Under-representation
of women matters because it prevents society from moving forward in the
direction of equality and from putting Pitkin’s definition of representation into reality. In practice, descriptive
representation tries to amend unequal social conditions by ensuring “historically marginalized groups such
as women the chances to become political elites. In so doing, proponents state
that descriptive representation protects the interests of the disadvantaged” (Kurebwa, 2015
Therefore, political under-representation of women is an important issue that
shouldn’t be ignored, but instead,
solutions to prevent under-representation should be put into action.


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