While we disagree politically and I can’t say I’m heartbroken, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) dropping out of the 2012 presidential race is significant.
Bachmann was a valued Tea Party candidate and at one point was extremely popular, winning the Iowa Straw Poll in August, the first woman to do so. Though one should not vote for a candidate based solely on gender, it is disappointing that there are no more female candidates competing. Bachmann’s bid for president was important, as it encouraged women to remain active in a field dominated by men.
Bachmann, along with other women who have run in presidential elections (e.g. Hillary Clinton), make running for office appear to be an attainable goal for young women and prove that women can be influential in political spheres. Just as Clinton had done in 2008, a majority of the time Bachmann made the focus of her campaign her political achievements, such as being the founder of the Tea Party Caucus in the House of Representative or being a successful entrepreneur. At the same time, Bachmann never actively avoided talking about her gender, and defended herself in the presence of sexism. By keeping the focus on political achievement, but not avoiding the topic of her gender, she was able to show that women are just as capable of competing in the race for president as men.
The United States has yet to have a female president, and until that goal is reached it is important that smart, capable women remain active in politics. Women account for just over 50% of the United States population, thus our government needs to have a gender balanced in order to accurately represent all of its citizens. When women such as Michele Bachmann or Hilary Clinton remain active and inspire others, the closer we will be to achieving that balance.
Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore