United Stats V.S India and the Different Electoral Systems

Topics: Plurality voting system, United States, Elections Pages: 8 (2913 words) Published: March 3, 2006
Despite a total number of forty democracies throughout the world, many countries, such as the United States, have more men employed in higher positions in the political sphere, especially in the legislature. Generally, in worldwide legislatures and democracies, there are not many women present in the legislature, if any at all. However, one democracy that is taking the initiative in empowering women and giving them equal and fair opportunities as men in the political sphere is India. This paper will explore the reason why more women have seats in the Parliament of India as opposed to the Congress of the United States. Also, this paper will establish the difference between a bi-party and a multiparty system of legislature of the United States and India, respectively, to see if this correlates to why there are more women in power in the Indian legislature. This is a significant topic to study because more women need to be politically active and involved in their respective legislature so that their views are expressed and known by the other parties and citizens. By comparing two types of democracies, the paper will be establishing which type of electoral system has more opportunities for women to be present in legislature. The main argument of the paper is that proportional representation, the type of electoral system in India, allows for more women to be in positions of power as compared to the single-member district in the United States that allows less representation of women in the legislature since it is an electoral district that is represented by a single member of a representative assembly.

The independent variables are a list of factors that affect the dependent variable. The dependent variable in this paper is the number of women in positions of power in the legislatures of both the United States and India. The independent variables are: political culture/societal norms, the quota system found in India's government, and the two types of electoral systems: the single-member district found in the United States and the proportional representation system of government in India. Thus, by establishing the differences between the single-member district and a proportional representation system of electoral government, this paper will examine whether there are more women represented in Indian government than in the United States due to what the proportional representation system has to offer, and how the other independent variables relate to that.

Democracy, as defined by Hain, must contain accountability, participation, and decentralization as its key principles. Accountability is necessary because representatives must be available to answer to their electors in a more regular and frequent way than by periodic elections. Participation is necessary because each individual needs to be able to intervene directly in the political process and influence affairs, instead of leaving all of the decision-making processes to the representatives. Third, decentralization is necessary in order to spread power to the local levels can decrease the tendency towards a bureaucratic and centralized control (Hain 2).

Political culture, by definition, is a pattern of shared values, moral norms, beliefs, and attitudes that relate to politics and society (Sodaro 256). Political culture reflects the ways people think and feel about political life. The political culture of the United States regarding women is different than that of India. In the United States, women and other minority groups have the same equal rights as that of a white male. For instance, if a woman wants to run for Senator, she has to fulfill the same legal abilities and tendencies of a white man; thus, representation is based on merit, instead of gender. However, many women are discouraged from attaining high positions of power in the legislature due to the fact that it is a high-stress job, and many women today have children and a family to take...

Bibliography: Eldridge, Albert F., ed. Legislatures in Plural Societies: The Search for Cohesion in National Development. Durham: Duke University Press, 1977.
Hain, Peter
Hoag, Clarence Gilbert, and George Hervey Hallett. Proportional Representation. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1926.
Inter-Parliamentary Union
Loewenberg, Gerhard Peverill Squire and D. Roderick Kiewiet, eds. Legislatures: Comparative Perspectives on Representative Assemblies. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 2002.
Reding, Andrew
World Policy Institute. 07 Dec. 2004
Reeve, Andrew, and Alan Ware. Electoral Systems: A Comparative and Theoretical Introduction. New York: Routledge, 1992.
Sodaro, Michael J
Wheare, K.C. Legislatures. Second Edition. London: Oxford University Press, 1968.
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