Do women have what it takes to be Presidents and Prime Ministers?
Does a woman have to ditch the majority of her femininity and take on traditionally masculine characteristics in order to be successful in these roles?
My video response below:
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Throughout the 2016 US presidential election there has been a great deal of talk about the suitability of women as world leaders. “You are voting for Hilary Clinton because she is a woman” and “you are not voting for Hilary Clinton because she is a woman” are typical comments. Being a female does not make you automatically more qualified to be president or prime minister of a nation. It also doesn’t make a female less qualified for the job provided that she has certain qualities and attributes.
I have no issue with female leaders running nations. I would gladly throw my vote and support behind a woman that I felt was appropriate for the job. There is that double standard for not only female politicians but females in high powered positions. Men are admired if they are bold and assertive. If a woman is bold and assertive she is a shrill and argumentative hard bitch. I have never subscribed to that school of thought. Both male and female leaders need to be bold, assertive and hard .
Successful female Presidents or Prime Ministers need to possess and adopt many of the traits and characteristics that are generally attributed to men. Politics has always been a man’s domain and in order for a woman to be able to take on these roles she needs to be staunch, hard, logical, and rational.
This is not to say that a woman needs to completely shed all feminine aspects and attempt to become a man. However, she does need to shed certain qualities which are more often attributed to women. Qualities such as gentleness, sensitivity, emotionalism and indecisiveness. Men often possess these qualities and if they do they also have to minimise them. If individuals are not capable of taking on the necessary characteristics they have no business being in the political game.
It’s an interesting dichotomy because neither male or female leaders will be taken seriously unless they embody these traditionally staunch male characteristics. When female leaders do this they face the unfair criticism of being unappealing because they have lost their femininity and they are too hard. In other words, they are too manly. This criticism is inevitable, but if women can rise above that they will be respected in the long term.
There’s no room for being soft in politics.One must be tough and make decisions based on strategy, logic, and rationality. Empathy and heart should play a part in the role but they often need to take a back seat . Hilary Clinton is hard and calculating and strategic. On that front, she has the right type of character and personality for the presidency.
Consider my pick for the top three staunchest female leaders that were “more man than woman” :
Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was not known as the iron lady for nothing! She tackled the economy, battled against socialism and the cold war, crushed trade unions, invaded the Falkland Islands and survived an IRA assassination attempt without breaking a sweat. Former US president Ronald Regan dubbed her “the best man in England”
Indira Gandhi, the former Prime Minister of India, did not waiver when it came to making tough decisions, Gandhi was tough as nails. There was “Emergency” period in India, the 1971 war with Pakistan, her feud with the Sikhs, and her willingness to undertake a military strike against Pakistan’s nuclear weapons in the 1980s. Richard Nixon said “Gandhi is tougher than men”
“The best man in government” is how David Ben Gurion described former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir. Meir was known as the straight talking and strong willed staunch grandmother of Israel. She demanded global recognition of Israel’s right to exist, oversaw the Yom Kippur war and retaliated with assassin squads against those involved in the Munich massacre.
Ultimately, gender is irrelevant. There is no guarantee that a man will have what it takes to be a commander in chief just because he is a man. The right person for the job just needs to possess the qualities that are more often attributed to men.
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