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The Motherless StateWomen's Political Leadership and American Democracy$
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Eileen McDonagh

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780226514543

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226514567.001.0001

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Fixing the State

Fixing the State

(p.201) 7 Fixing the State
The Motherless State
University of Chicago Press

The problem with the United States is that, although hybrid symbolism is evident in the political campaigns of candidates, the state itself is deficient in this regard. A hybrid symbolism that works for race has worked for decades for sex, as women seeking access to political office assure voters they can be “male” while still being “female.” Liberalism can exacerbate political exclusion based on sex and gender. Liberal democracy can associate itself with women's maternalism by implementing welfare provision and gender quotas. Quotas are at the very heart of the American representative legislature and the American executive branch of government. Liberal individualism per se does not hinder women's access to political rule in the United States or elsewhere. On instrumental and normative grounds, electing more women to positions of political leadership is fundamental to fulfilling the promise of democracy.

Keywords:   hybrid symbolism, United States, political campaigns, liberalism, liberal democracy, maternalism, welfare provision, gender quotas, liberal individualism, political leadership

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