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Shvoong Home>Society & News>News Items>The Statesman Summary

The Statesman

Article Summary   by:Baidyanath    
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Leader not quite a masculine noun

To what extent can we be considered modern when we think
that “Leader” is a masculine noun wonders the writer? Ellen
Johnson-Sirleaf has been elected Africa’s first woman head
of state when she became the President of Liberia. Almost
on the other side of the globe, in Chile, Michelle Bachelet
has been elected the first woman President of the country
after defeating the dictator General Augusto Pinochet who
was notorious for his preposterous ways of life. It was
unimaginable that Chile could get rid of the bad man and
elect as its President somebody who was a woman, a
socialist and a single mother. Ms. Johnson-Sirleaf defeated
her male opponent George Weah an erstwhile football player
of Chelsea, an English football club.

Mr. Weah ultimately accepted defeat and might even join her
cabinet subsequently. A sort of contradiction prevails in
the fact that countries that exhibit traditionally
conservative ethos towards women allow them to rise to the
highest office more frequently than the Western
Democracies. Angela Merkel, the new Chancellor of Germany
is a welcome exception. Indian subcontinent that is
generally far more conservative, for example, women have
catapulted to the top chair by dynastic connections. This
is not true for Ms. Johnson- Sirleaf who has achieved her
position by her own calibre.

Uganda and Mozambique have preserved seats for women in
Parliament, a feat that could not be replicated by USA even
after two centuries of feminist campaigning. a credible
woman presidential candidate was not yet visible in the USA
after 1872 when Victoria Woodhull launched her bid on a
decidedly social welfare plank. Whether Condolezza Rice and
Hillary Clinton will fight it out in the next round remains
to be seen. Mrs. Clinton had shown her true colours already
when she was in charge of healthcare in her husband’s team.

By combining traditional feminity with masculine
ruthlessness Margaret Thatcher had put off substantial
number of potential women aspirants already. There is
nothing to indicate that Britain is vying for a change in
its attitude towards selecting a woman PM in the near
future.

Powerful women instill fear and give rise to negative
reactions in conservative institutions inducing fierce
debates for even such benign issues as ordination of women
bishops. Accepting even a woman bishop is difficult in a
conservative society like the British.

The long and short of the whole issue is that a male
supremo like Blair must foster a woman if she wants to
attain the take off stage.
Published: January 24, 2006   
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