17
Nov
06

Women World Leaders (has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it!)

Ah, the lighter moments of Grey’s Anatomy, how quickly we put them behind us…

Onward and upward: 

When I was young and feisty (as opposed to aging rapidly and feisty), my kick-ass friend Shannon gave me a book titled Women World Leaders.  (Maybe it was my frequent announcements that I would one day be President that seemed to indicate it might be a good gift.)  Anyway, I’ve been reading terrific articles about women leaders in the press in the last week or so – as Wesley points out, it’s been a good week (or two) for women here.  Then there is Dubai’s new Minister of the Economy & Planning (Planning – Wahoo!).  And now the female Socialist candidate “crushing” her two male opponents in France’s presidential primary. 

This article sheds a lot of light of gender, politics, France, class.  There’s Candidate Segolene Royal’s appeal to the “grassroots,” as she correctly surmises her country’s ennui with “elitist” politics.  There’s her willingness to capitalize on her gender – and beat men to the punch in bringing it in to the debate – rather than shying from it.  (As she puts it: “gazelles run faster than elephants.”)

Of course her looks are a bonus, and because this is Europe, published photos of her in a bikini a) exist, and b) help her campaign. 

She’s “dangerously” populist – frighteningly for other politicians, she is promising citizens and local governments more power.  On this side of the Atlantic, we’re dying for some strong leadership from Headquarters.  In France, they’re finally Taking Back the Night.   (Though not, apparently, from the helm of the “second-tier” ministries of the “environment,” “school education,” and “family and childhood.”  Honestly; who needs clean air, literacy and loving kin?  Don’t waste my time.)

It’s not clear that she’s married to her “partner of 25 years” who is the father of her children, but this is the country that barely arches an eyebrow worthy of Nancy Pelosi at the love children of its leaders. 

And of course, politics is perhaps the best public venue for gendered discourse.  As I mentioned in a separate post, in an interview after the Dems won, Pelosi referred to terrorists as “menaces” and “troublemakers,” as if she were describing the hoodlums down the block.  Royal was mocked by her opponents for the following:

“Democracy is like love. The more there is of it, the more it grows.â€?

Women – so silly and emotional – I have no doubt they could not steer us sensibly through complex geopolitical challenges like Vietnam, Iraq, the War on Drugs, the War on Terror, etc. 

Though I will admit, it sounds like she needs to enroll in the same Social Studies class as Bush.  Fortunately for her, like Americans, the French seem much more dazzled by her style than her relative ignorance about the rest of the globe.  I wonder how much time is spent on tutoring up in those planes as our world leaders zip around the globe.  It’s not unlike when I overhead two local Massachusetts women ask their Indian co-worker at the Filene’s in Braintree if she had to fly over California to get to India from Boston.

Boston to India

(My Stern friends could tell them how to get there, ever since I made them draw Bangladesh – India’s next door neighbor – in Pictionary.)

 

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