Thursday, July 14, 2016

Women on top

Democrats are notorious for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, which is one important reason why I would not rule out the don, er, the Donald, painting the White House gold next January.  Despite all her scandals, and despite her husband's gaffes, if Hillary Clinton manages to win, three of the world's influential countries will have women in their highest elected offices: Angela Merkel in Germany; Theresa May in the UK; and Clinton in the US.

May, Merkel, and Clinton. Sounds like one of those law firms with testicular fortitude that few men can match!

What a unique moment in the history of humans that the Germans, the Brits, and the Americans will be led by women!

The head of the International Monetary Fund is a woman--Christine Lagarde.  There is intense pressure on the world to elect a woman as the next chief of the United Nations.  I would gladly vote for Hillary Clinton just for the opportunity of a global summit where all these women will pose together.  In contrast to them, the male leaders will look so bland and timid, which will force Vladimir Putin to become more Tarzan like--I can already imagine the bare-chested, horse-riding Vlad to take it to another level and swing from vines dressed only in a speedo ;)

In my introductory course, I tell students that even economic history can be easily retold as history of women because of the wonderful correlation--for all kinds of reasons--between economic progress and the rights of women.  As societies transform from the old rural, agricultural economies, it turns out that men will not be able to confine women to the stereotypical barefoot and pregnant role.  Yet another reason to get rid of poverty, right?

For those of us who grew up in India--heck, in South Asia, for that matter--women leaders are not new.  Throughout my early childhood years, it was a woman, Indira Gandhi, who led the country.  Neighboring Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, have all had female heads of government.  In the old country, women head governments in many states, including the part of the country where I come from.

It has taken the "developed" countries this long to let women into the world of politics and governance.   About time.


Ramesh said...

These three women whose photos you have featured have all got there by their sheer capability, grit and talent. Bravo to them. The same can't be said of our South Asian leaders who have all been daughters or wives of great leaders, and but for them, could never have reached there. In South Asia, the two real women leaders who have come up on their own merit are Mayawati and Mamata Banerjee.

Its great to see Germany, the UK and hopefully the US. Powerful countries having women at their helm who are there because they are the best. Wonderful.

Angela Merkel surely stands a few metres in front of the other two. This is a country which is referred to by its citizens as fatherland and not motherland. She came from East Germany and not the elite in West Germany. And she rose, not just to be a leader, but a titan. She is truly awesome.

Sriram Khé said...

It is funny that when a Bush or Gore or a Kennedy get elected to high offices, nobody comments about the equivalent of "our South Asian leaders who have all been daughters or wives of great leaders." But, when women get up there thanks to their family political connections, then those connections are quickly brought to the front and center of the discussions ...

Yes, Merkel is especially awesome given her life story. And wonderfully politically savvy, and cool and calm and graceful under all the pressure that the EU has been ever since the Great Recession. If only Obama had been an awesome dealmaker that Merkel has been--the guy has been awful with his staying away from the dirt of politics, when dealing with the dirt is why we elect people into office in the first place!

I am confident that the photograph of the women at the global summits will do wonders to inspire girls and young women throughout the world. Which means, all the more the reason why the days of the males assuming the world is theirs alone is numbered ... good for all of us anywhere in the world. (though, the global female leadership will certainly to piss off the angry fundamenalists in any religion.)

Mike Hoth said...

While I welcome a female president in this country, I'm worried by phrases such as your "let women into the world of politics" and your statement that you're voting for Hillary Clinton because you want to see another woman at global summits. I have nothing wrong with a female president, but I don't want to see a president elected because they have a uterus.

That's where we are right now. There's pressure to elect a female secretary general because we haven't had one. People keep telling me we need to elect Hillary Clinton with the same rhetoric I heard for elected a man of African heritage. I'd love to send a woman to summits as leader of our country, but I'd prefer to send a good leader whether or not they're female.

Mind you, that doesn't mean I'd like to send Donald Trump to summits either!

Shachi said...

Certainly About Time! This post made me happy :D!

Sriram Khé said...

Mike, yes, "this long to let women into the world of politics" ... women were systematically shut out, even if they were as much qualified as men were. When they are not held back, then women choose to involve themselves. In the US we don't even have the quota system that some other countries do, and yet look at the phenomenal # of women in politics in recent years. The governors of even South Carolina and New Mexico are women, which would not have been imaginable not too long ago. And, the SC governor is an Indian-American woman at that!

There is a HUGE difference between your interpretation and mine. I am not claiming that a woman has to be elected as President or as the UN head because it is their time. I am saying that when they are not held back, the ones with credentials will make it. Have you looked at the credentials of the women who have been nominated as UN chief? Phenomenal qualifications. In the years past, all that qualification would have been enough only for them to fetch coffee for the male bosses. They were shut out of the process. But, now, it is fair game. It is a similar story about Hillary Clinton. With phenomenal credentials. Plus, she shows that she can be as corrupt and sleazy as male politicians ;)

Hello, Shachi