Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Undergraduate Students, Gender Roles, and Political Participation

Gender Roles & Political Participation
            By elementary school, boys and girls have established autonomous peer cultures[1]. Children are educated throughout their young lives to maintain a social equilibrium by acting within their appropriate social, or gender, roles. These gender roles affect what men and women do every day in their personal and professional lives, as well as the level involvement individuals have in the political sphere.
            Studies have shown that women are less involved in politics than men are. Traditional gender socialization has discouraged women from entering the political arena because they are unaccustomed to the political environment [2]. Women tend to believe that they are less capable and unqualified for political involvement because of traditional gender socialization. Even when women are qualified and capable of being politically involved, they tend to be recruited far less than men are. When women are involved in politics, they provide stability to political organizations because they are focused on internal maintenance. Women are also just as successful and capable as men are and perform their duties just as well.
            A study of the model United Nations was done in 1999, where male and female delegates were selected to participate in the event. These individuals signed up for the event voluntarily; however, Rosenthal, Rosenthal, and Jones found that male delegates still participated more than the female delegates did [3]. I believe that these female delegates may have participated less due to uncertainty of the event’s dynamics and expectations. In order to test this theory, I looked at an organization comprised of undergraduate students that had relatively low turnover from 2012 to 2013 and examined the differences of male and female participation.

The Intermountain Affiliate of College and University Residence Halls (IACURH) meets three times a year to do regional business. The organization is comprised of thirty-one universities and colleges from the intermountain region, serves as an advocate for on-campus residence halls, and is one of eight regions in the National Association of College and University Residence Halls, Incorporated (NACURH, inc.). Undergraduate students are the main participants in the organization, though some graduate students also participate. I recorded portions of the annual “No Frills” business conference at the University of Arizona where twenty-two schools and ninety-nine delegates were present.
            At this conference, I recorded five different sessions of “award bid defense” where candidates were presented for awards and representatives from each school debated to decide which candidate would win the award. Each session was a different mixture of male and female delegates, depending upon who the school selected to represent them in that session. Many of the sessions had more female delegates than male delegates. Some sessions had multiple candidates for the award and others only had one candidate. Levels of experience were also gathered based on how many boardroom experiences the individual had, including the current conference. Three sessions were comprised of the delegates from the conference, while four of the sessions were comprised of the regionally elected executives. I wanted to see the difference in how campus elected individuals and regionally elected individuals acted when put in these situations. I also recorded two “post-no frills” bid sessions for the regionally elected individuals.

            For the campus elected delegates, I found that men tended to speak more than the women did. In one session, there were three guys to twelve girls, but those three men spoke, on average, 3.33 times, while the girls spoke, on average, 2.83 times. In another session, there were seven men to ten women and the men spoke nearly twice as much as the women did. I found that in the last session men and women spoke about the same number of times and there were ten women and ten men present.  I thought it was interesting that men spoke up more than women when they were outnumbered, which reaffirms the gender stereotype that men try to establish dominance and control. I also found it interesting that women were not overpowered when the playing field was an even number of men and women. When looking closer at this last session, I found that nine of the ten females were “experienced,” meaning that this was at least their second boardroom experience, and only four of the ten males were experienced. I also noted that the inexperienced males spoke up more than the experienced males, but it was just the opposite for the women.
            When looking at the regionally elected executives, there were varying results. There are five men on the regional board and two women, and only two individuals are deemed “experienced,” meaning this is their second term as a regional executive (a term being defined as one academic year): one male and one female. In the two bid sessions, the two women spoke more than the five men did. Within the same sessions, the experienced male spoke more than any other individual and the inexperienced males spoke less than everyone else. In the two post-no frills bid sessions, the men and women spoke about the same number of times with the experienced male still speaking the most. In two of these five bid sessions, the inexperienced female spoke the second highest number of times (after the experienced male).

Do gender roles affect political participation?
            I believe that they do. It was very clear in this study that the males tried to assert dominance over the conversation and spoke more than the females did, even if the females were more experienced than the males were. Inexperience does not always seem to affect men in terms of willingness to speak, though inexperience can affect whether or not a woman is willing to speak. Gender roles appear to have a large effect on how individuals act.  

[1] Adler, Patricia, Steven Kless, and Peter Adler. 1992. Socialization to gender roles: Popularity among elementary school boys and girls, Sociology of Education 65, no. 3(July): 169-87.
[2] Fox, Richard, and Jennifer Lawless. 2010. If only they’d ask: Gender, recruitment, and political ambition, The Journal of Politics 72, no. 2(April): 310-26.
[3] Rosenthal, Cindy S., Jocelyn Jones, and James A. Rosenthal. 2003. Gendered discourse in the political behavior of adolescents, Political Research Quarterly 56, no. 1 (September): 97-104.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Human Trafficking and the International Criminal Court

Andrew Adams

Human Trafficking and the International Criminal Court:
                If you haven’t heard of Human Trafficking before, let me update you on a few things:

·         “27 million - Number of people in modern-day slavery across the world
·         12.3 million - Number of adults and children in forced labor around the world
·         9.8 million –Number of these that are exploited by private agents for labor or commercial sex purposes.
·         800,000 – Number of people trafficked across international borders every year, as of 2007
·         2 million – Number of children exploited by the global commercial sex trade
·         1.2 million – Number of children trafficked globally in 2000
·         80% – Percent of transnational victims who are women and girls
·         50% – Percent of transnational victims who are minors
·         At least 56% - Percent of trafficking victims globally who are women
·         127 countries of origin; 98 transit countries; 137 destination countries.”[i]

How about the official United Nation’s definition of Human Trafficking? 

the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.”[ii]

Human Trafficking has been an international issue since the rise of the modern nation-states.  Indeed, sexual slavery and forced labor has been on the rise at a disturbing rate. 
Shocked yet?  Well just wait for the punch line.  But before that, allow me to explain what the “International Criminal Court” is:   
The International Criminal Court (ICC) is the highest criminal court in the world. The ICC “was established as a court of last resort to prosecute the most heinous offenses in cases where national courts fail to act…to prosecute individuals accused of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.”[iii]  

The ICC was assembled to prosecute three specific types of people:

(a)     Those who are genocidal maniacs  
(b)     Those who commit unspeakable crimes  
(c)     Those who commit crimes during wartime[iv]     

            The United Nations created the ICC to prosecute the most heinous of offenses to humanity.  They have some quite harsh words in regards to Human Trafficking…

Universal Rhetoric Denounces Trafficking:
International rhetoric has continuously denounced Human Trafficking.  In 2000, the United Nations began drafting the ‘Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.’  By October 2012, several crucial protocols had been sustained.  These included:

·         The Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children (adopted December 2003)”
·         The Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air (adopted January 2004)
·         The Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking of Firearms, their Parts and Components and Ammunition (adopted July 2005).[v] 

Harvard researcher Jane Kim states:

“Despite the developments in human trafficking law, awareness, and policy over the past decade, the International Criminal Court’s potential treatment of trafficking as a crime against humanity remains a question mark. While the Rome Statute’s reference to human trafficking may seem clear on its face, allegations of human trafficking have not yet been brought to the ICC, nor have they appeared before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) or the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).”[vi]  

Well here is the punch line: 

Up to date, there has not been any legal action in the ICC against Human Trafficking.
Why is this so?  If United Nation’s rhetoric zealously denounces Human Trafficking, and Nations agree that it is a dangerous practice, why has it not been publically addressed in the 10 year existence of the ICC? 

Possibilities for Exclusion:

            There are several important possibilities why the ICC has not yet introduced a Human Trafficking case to the international scene:

·         First: Human Trafficking is not within ICC jurisdiction.  
·         Second: It is a domestic issue only.  The best way to deter Human Trafficking is on the domestic level.    
·         Third: Profits from Human Trafficking might be benefiting several governments, which could encourage them to deter its prosecution.
·         Fourth: Feasibility issues do not permit prosecution at this time
·         Fifth: There is no need to do so. 

Of these five, there is one of utmost importance to consider: Perhaps profits from Human Trafficking are benefiting governments such that they are actually discouraging international deterrence.  

Research on this position is extremely hard.  For one, there are few scholars that would want to publicly challenge dangerous people.  Second, how could this be feasibly proven with certainty?  Despite the challenges, one should pause and think about this issue whenever Human Trafficking is addressed in a public forum.

Perhaps these statistics are a perfect way to close.  Is there a possibility of corruption?  Let the reader decide:

“$32 billion – Total yearly profits, in U.S. dollars, generated by the human trafficking industry
$15.5 billion, half of the total, is made in industrialized countries.
$9.7 billion, one third of the total, is made in Asia.
$13,000 per year, on average, generated by each trafficked laborer. This comes to $1,100 per month.”[vii]

Perhaps we need to stop sweeping things under the carpet of useless UN Protocols.  Words without action are opiates for the masses.  They appease our sense of justice without achieving anything worthwhile.   

[i] Polaris Project. Human Trafficking Statistics. 2010. National Human Trafficking Resource Center.www.
[ii] United Nations Convention against transnational Organized Crime and the Protocols.
[iii] [iii]International Criminal Court. The Free Dictionary. Farlex.
[iv] [iv]International Criminal Court. The Free Dictionary. Farlex.
[v] United Nations Convention against transnational Organized Crime and the Protocols.
[vi] [vi] Kim, Jane. A.B. Harvard University. J.D. Candidate, Columbia Law School, 2011.( Pg. 3-4) “Prosecuting Human Trafficking as a Crime against Humanity under the Rome Statute.”
[vii] Polaris Project. Human Trafficking Statistics. 2010. National Human Trafficking Resource Center.www.


Is this the message Mormon women need to hear regarding politics?

By Kali Smith           
Mitt Romney’s run for the U.S. presidency clearly brought the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) onto the national stage. Yet Romney is not the first Mormon to stand in the political spotlight. Names such as Harry Reid, Orrin Hatch, and Ezra Taft Benson come to mind. But can you think of any female Mormon politicians? 

Only one LDS female has been elected to U.S. political office. In 1981, Paula Hawkins was elected as a senator from Florida. For a church that heavily values the role of women, its female members are extremely underrepresented in politics. In fact, Utah is 45th in the nation in regards to the percentage of women serving in political positions.[1] Perhaps the church’s focus on traditional family roles exacerbates this gender gap in political participation. Do LDS women view their role as mothers in the home as incompatible with political participation? Is this the message they feel they are getting over the pulpit? 

Before individuals will participate in politics, they need to feel that their involvement will matter, or in other words have a high level of political efficacy.[2] Little has been written about the effect of religious socialization on political efficacy, but one study suggests that political efficacy increases for African Americans when they are exposed to political cues from their religious leaders.[3] This group is highly distinctive in their religiosity, as are the members of the LDS church. Would Mormons respond similarly to political cues from their religious leaders? Particularly, are LDS women more likely to participate in politics if they hear from the pulpit that they are needed? 

The results from a survey experiment show that, among LDS females, political efficacy increased when respondents were presented with a quote regarding political participation versus one about family responsibilities from the First Presidency (the highest and most influential authority in the church). Looking at those who received the family responsibility quote, only 31% of respondents had a high level of efficacy. Alternatively, the percentage rose to 56% among those who received the political participation quote. 

Taking an even closer look, responses to the statement “I feel my participation is a necessary part of the political process” also suggests that efficacy changes depending on the message LDS women receive. About 20% of respondents who received the family responsibility quote strongly agreed with the above statement, compared to nearly double that amount (39%) among those who received the political participation quote. 

While people may debate about whether or not politics should be discussed in religious settings, these findings suggest that for LDS females their level of political efficacy increases if they hear from the First Presidency that their participation in politics is important. If this is true, then more emphasis on the need for LDS women to be involved in politics could potentially increase their level of political participation and in turn narrow the gender gap. It also suggests that the effect of religious socialization on political efficacy and participation should be more widely studied.

[1] Phillips, Tyson. 2013. “Group: Utah Needs More Women in Office.” The Salt Lake Tribune.
[2] Fox, Richard L., and Jennifer L. Lawless. "To run or not to run for office: Explaining nascent political ambition." American Journal of Political Science 49.3 (2005): 642-659.
[3] Brown, Ronald, and Monica L. Wolford. 1994. "Religious resources and African American political action." National Political Science Review 4: 30-48.