Why do women often rise to positions of leadership in foreign countries compared to the US?
There are currently 22 women holding the highest offices of leadership in their respective countries around the world: presidents, prime ministers, and other heads of state. The United States is poised to have its first. Why has it taken so long? What are the barriers? Will it ever happen?
I think it is because the United States has been laboring under the veil of a Pauline religion that places women in a role subservient to men. Even women of the church say that the Bible says "the man is head of the household and the woman is his helpmeet," whatever that is supposed to mean. However, that has been interpreted to mean that the woman plays a secondary role, keeping house, raising the children, etc. Statistically speaking, even in American households where the woman and mother has a career or holds a job, she is still responsible for most of the household drudgery while the “head of the household” watches sports on TV or plays golf.
In 1982 The Equal Rights Amendment was introduced for a Constitutional Amendment assuring women equal rights to men, but it has never been ratified. It has been introduced into every Congress since 1982, but 15 states still hold out for the ratification needed to make it a constitutional amendment. Why? Again when you look at the states involved, most of them are in the Bible Belt.
With a few exceptions, the Europeans are not known for their religious culture any longer. Perhaps it is because a war-decimated continent has rebuilt itself upon its own strengths. Even Israel , with Golda Meir as one of its founders, is not under the influence of a Pauline deity, nor is Germany or Great Britain. When a woman in this country becomes involved in politics, she becomes the target of ridicule, even by other women. Take Hillary, for instance. She is a strong woman with both national and international experience, which probably makes her more qualified to run this country than any of the men running. However, look what “they” are doing to her. Whether or not she was doing anything wrong is not the point. She is perceived as doing wrong. Americans are serving as judge and jury by subscribing to rumors and not knowing the facts.
On the other hand, as the warts are brought out against the male candidates who have announced a run for the presidency, they are quickly forgiven and forgotten. Women should support other women, and that includes qualified female candidates but American women have a tendency to put other women down. Until Americans get rid of this concept that a woman’s place is to serve her man, we are unlikely to see many women in leadership capacities.
Very well expressed, MizBejabbers. You've given a thoughtful view of our country's perception of women in leadership and women in general. I appreciate the historical perspective. Thank you very much for your answer. I hope it enlightens others.
Look, to be honest, we are like 100 years behind most other countries in terms of this type of thing, at least. I mean we were one of the last countries to allow "blacks" to vote. That doesn't really speak to us being forward-thinking as a nation, generally. I think our country is geared toward being "manly and aggressive" with football and beer and so on. I believe women may still be viewed as less aggressive (which would do our country well, in my opinion) and probably weak. How often do we still hear things like, "You throw like a girl. You run like a girl. You cry like a girl"? I just think we're way behind in becoming human here. There's so much competition amongst us that we can't get past the drama of the difference in the sexes. In essence, we just haven't evolved.
Exactly, but people have forgotten that this country was built on the backs of women (sodbusters, 19th Century factory workers, etc.). as well as men. People respond to movies. Maybe we need more movies of our heroine ancestors to remind them.
Excellent answer, Faceless39. Thanks for responding.
It would seem that many including some women view women as less capable and less able to carry out the 'tough jobs.'
Step up to the plate ladies...I will support a woman for any 'tough job' who displays the qualities of character (yes, character) and good sense and good judgment that it takes to do them.
Will it ever happen is a good question....it will not unless bias regarding women continues to exist.
More needs to be said on this topic....keeping it in the front of the minds of each of us may help to get people to begin to think in a new way.
Great question...Angels are on the way to you this morning ps
There is, I believe, a natural lag time between bars being lifted and the ascension of the affected group. If one group has the power to allow or disallow complete freedom to another, It then will take a generation or two for the affected group to actually be ready to step up into the new freedoms. It must become "un-ingrained". How could a woman of the 1920's have a child in the forties and even have a clue how to raise her up with no artificial boundaries like sexism? We are just now getting to a point where the self perception of women as equals is becoming ingrained.
The biting angry and frustrated calls for immediacy are a reflection of a societal machine that just moves too slow for most folks still reeling from the yolk. While operating still on a platform of women against men, that may have some justification, leaders will not develop. If the self perception is that they are outsiders fighting their way in or onto the top then it is a looser except in times of revolution and then limited to that.
I think that we are ready as a society. But for me, I need someone fresh and new -- say around 50 years old. I do not want a person as a leader that is still thinking in the back of their head that they have to prove something because they are a member of a group that was oppressed when they were born. Kennedy and Obama did admirable jobs in this regard, far from perfect, but worthy of the presidency. In the forties no way ever a Catholic and in the 70's no way ever a black man. But the men were born knowing they could do it. A lady born during or before the 50's was not born knowing that she could in this decade.
It is not what we have been doing for the last 4 decades that has prevented it. But rather what your fathers did for the previous 4.
In our home -- Hillary was stepping up and showing just how great women leaders can be. My wife born in poverty in a developing country saw her and from her teens believed. Now she can't be president, but she damn sure does not have a self imposed glass ceiling hanging over her head. And what the heck my daughters can get me calling God -- her
Lovely, insightful perspective, Eric. This should be one of your hubs. You have banged the nail head into the cement. I appreciate the enlightenment which clarifies the issue of women in leadership in a way I had not seen before. Thanks for answering
Thank you for a great question. Before I die I hope I can say to my mom in heaven "see what you were part of".
I think in the US is has a great deal to do with the fact that our government is far-more militarized than those of other nations. People are worried about putting women in charge of military affairs because they think women don't know anything about war. Other countries are focused more on things like housing, education, healthcare, etc.
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