‘When we introduce a woman onto this committee, we might see that there is going to be a difference in how the discussion flows, and the types of ideas…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) A recent study from the University of California, San Diego suggested that the influx of women in Congress would likely increase the amount of productivity, civility and cooperation—although evidence has indicated quite the opposite.
Following last November’s elections, nearly a quarter of all members of Congress are women—counting both the Senate and the House of Representatives.
In an interview last month on the podcast “P.S. You’re Interesting,” UCSD political science professor Pamela Ban claimed that the unprecedented groundswell of estrogen would help boost female group dynamics, according to CQ/Roll Call.
“We find that when you increase the number of women, when you increase the proportion of women on a committee, that helps to increase the amount of times that women will speak up,” Ban said, citing a recent study she had conducted analyzing Congressional Quarterly committee hearing transcripts from 1995 to 2017.
Ban said increasing the number of women on a committee positively affects the participation of majority-party women and women in senior positions.
It also impacts “instances such as number of interruptions made,” Ban said.
Women are more likely to stick to topics introduced by other women, while men are more likely to change the subject, she said.
“When we introduce a woman onto this committee, we might see that there is going to be a difference in how the discussion flows, and the types of ideas,” Ban said.
In reality, though, the recent class of freshman Democratic congresswomen such as Reps. Alexandria Ocasio–Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan have driven Congress to unprecedented levels of divisiveness.
As their own party bickers over matters like impeachment and anti-Semitism, leading to one embarrassing public episode after another, even the most routine committees have become wretchedly inefficient.
During a hearing with the heads of several major banks, Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., chair of the House Financial Services Committee, struggled with maintaining order and allowed committee members to grandstand well past normal business hours, leading Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to say he had an important foreign dignitary waiting in his office.
In the same committee, during testimony from Housing Secretary Ben Carson, Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., rudely and scornfully interrupted Carson, while Omar issued a disrespectful tweet afterward (or perhaps during the hearing) suggesting he wasn’t fully awake.
Ocasio–Cortez—famously known for penning the Green New Deal, estimated to cost $93 trillion—has also been known to be less-than-attentive to the substance of meetings and more concerned with critiquing her fellow congress members, without evidence, on their lack of preparation.
Of course, Tlaib’s declaration on the first day of Congress, with respect to President Donald Trump, that she intended to “impeach the motherf***er” set the tone that many of the freshman Democrats have continued to abide by.
Leading them in their efforts is Machiavellian House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whose claims that the president was engaged in a cover-up brought infrastructure talks to an untimely end, and who most recently declared that she hoped to see Trump in prison.
While Ban’s analysis may be accurate in concluding that the women currently in power have been emboldened to speak, to change the flow of discussion and types of ideas, the overall result may not be one that many women elsewhere wish to claim ownership of.