Women are being underrepresented in government and Wisconsin is a huge part of the problem

Some congressmen left the floor to play cards while a congresswoman spoke

104 out of the 535 members of Congress are women. That's 19.4 percent women and 80.6 percent men . The state of Wisconsin has 23.5 percent female legislators, falling behind 27 other states.

"Women are absolutely underrepresented in Wisconsin government," Representative Dianne Hesselbein said. "Woman should be running on every level", and in Wisconsin, they simply are not.

With the population of the United States being 51 percent female, one would think both genders would be represented equally in positions of power.

However, it's obvious this isn't the case. So, why is it that more women don't hold government positions in the United States? Is it due to an inherently misogynistic climate in government, or is it simply because women aren't running?

In attempting to answer this question about why more women are not in government positions, I talked with Wisconsin Congresswoman Dianne Hesselbein and Minnesota Congresswoman Melissa Hortman.

Hesselbein believes more women aren't running, because young girls aren't seeing women in positions of power.

"It's important for young girls to see women in these jobs, so they are inspired to follow their lead," Hesselbein said.

Congresswomen Hortman discovered the sexism that can occur in government when she witnessed man after man disappear from a House floor meeting while Representative Ilhan Omar (a woman) was speaking on an important issue.

Surprisingly, the men were found playing a game of cards in a room off of the House floor. Hortman confronted the men.

“I hate to break up the 100 percent white male card game in the retiring room,” Hortman said. “But I think this is an important debate”

Congresswoman Hortman received a lot of backlash from male congressmen but she isn't sorry for what she said.

Both Congresswomen would agree women are at somewhat of a disadvantage in government simply because of their gender.

Unfortunately, sexism is still present in the minds of many people around the world, simply due to how ingrained it is in our culture.

Woman have been expected to serve certain purposes for as long as most of us can remember. Women are expected to take care of the children while the man goes off to work, which, according to Senator Steve Cwodzinski of Minnesota, is potentially the main reason women aren't in government positions.

For many people, how we view women stems from the media, including advertisements, sitcoms and music videos (think Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines").

Sadly, these prejudged ideas are being carried over into the workforce, especially government. The idea that women are either not capable of being in legislative positions or that they should be spending their time doing other things, such as caring for children, is both demeaning and sexist.

In today's political climate, the last thing we should be doing is discouraging women from having their voice heard and participating in politics.

We need more women who are willing to break that barrier regardless of whether the government environment is welcoming.

Hillary Clinton started this process, and even with her loss, we can still see what a large impact she's had.

University of Wisconsin