I sat down after the election to write an anthropological-type screed about why we couldn’t break the glass ceiling, about how even women had a hard time seeing a woman as president, and ended up at the Social Good Summit for the UN.
Many countries around the world have or have had women leaders. Why, even though many of these countries’ cultures are more patriarchal than ours, does that not pose the same barrier for them as it does for us? The reasoning is that these other countries’ governments have more generous social welfare programs, which is seen as softer and more maternal, making it easier to view a woman in charge. Meanwhile in the U.S., we consider the president as military commander; the tough and masculine policeman of the world.
In an article from the New York Times after the election, Katrin Bennhold and Rick Gladstone made this argument, quoting different people, but not giving any context.
So I went looking online for more details, and in looking for sources from the article I got sucked down the rabbit hole of the Internet to something called the Social Good Summit. This Summit is a program of the UN Council of Women World Leaders. Think about that – a UN Council comprised solely of women heads of state, and it’s not a small group! Check it out here.
This year’s annual Social Good Summit presented two days of incredible and inspiring-titled seminars and panel discussions about all the issues Progressives care about. Go to Mashable.com to see the schedule. The idea that women around the world realize, and are acting upon, the commonality of our issues gives me hope. Looking to nurse my wounds after the election, and looking for an answer, I guess I found it – the power of women to address the real issues, on our own (as historically we did for the suffrage) and with a long view.
Here’s a short recap of the “4 takeaways” from this year’s summit:
(Visit the Council of Women World Leaders website for the full text.)
1. Everyone should be engaged in the universal healthcare discussion, not just politicians.
2. El Niño is a serious climate issue.
3. Women can do anything and should be ambitious.
4. Women at the top need to help other women succeed.
These are pretty good maxims to live by these days; women CAN do anything – sometimes it takes longer than we want – and we HAVE to help one another or we will all fail. So, whether climate change or health care is your issue, know that women leaders around the world are with you, supporting you as we figure out how to save the planet and ourselves. And one day we will be seen as more generous and maternal, and maybe even elect a woman president.