Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at 5:37 AM

‘Men should be barred from politics’

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

imagesTed Turner (aka the mouth of the South) created quite a stir on Monday when he said the following about men in politics at the International Women’s Earth and Climate Summit in New York City:

They could do everything else, be president of universities, business leaders, but they just couldn’t serve in any elected position for 100 years.

(Newsbusters.org, September 23, 2013)

Some commentators thought he was being so progressive as to be revolutionary. Others thought he was pandering to his predominantly female audience. But I knew he was simply adding his very loud voice to a cause some of us have been advocating for years.

Here, for example, is how I hailed the election of women as heads of state in Germany, Liberia, and Chile almost eight years ago:

In light of the recent trend set by Angela Merkel of Germany and Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia, Bachelet’s election would be encouraging to those of us who welcome the seepage of woman power through the crevices of  political and corporate governance around the world…

Here’s to ‘the fairer sex’ – not only as indispensable guardians of home and hearth, but also as invaluable (and capable) stewards of the ship of state!

(“Cracking the Glass Ceiling: First Woman to Become President in South America,” The iPINIONS Journal, December 12, 2005)

RosieRiveter_PanelAnd here’s how I commented on some of the realized and promising benefits of this reversal of gender roles in politics three years ago:

We have enough data, as well as anecdotal evidence, from the way women have influenced the corporate world to make some credible extrapolations. The correlation between more women holding positions of power and the implementation of family-friendly policies is undeniable in this respect. Therefore, it’s entirely reasonable to assert that if more women held positions of power in politics they would use their power more towards building up human resources than military armaments – just to cite one obvious example.

Finland’s president, prime minister, president of the Supreme Court, as well as eight of its eleven government ministers are all women. Arguably, there’s a direct correlation between their positions and the fact that Newsweek rated this county the best place to live in 2010 – in terms of health, economic dynamism, education, political environment, and quality of life.

(“Women Make Better Politicians than Men,” The iPINIONS Journal, October 14, 2010)

You might think of this trend as the germination of the “soft power” that even the superpower United States is struggling to develop as a matter of existential necessity. Simply put, soft power defines national strength, as well as international influence, more in terms of the general welfare of people than the projection of military might.

But to avoid any confusion (or misguided snark), let me hasten to clarify that I do not think men should be literally barred from politics. I don’t think Turner does either. I just believe a great deal of public good would be derived from a reversal of gender participation in politics at this point in the (his)tory of (man)kind – such that men and women are represented in inverse ratio, at every level, to what we have today.

To be sure, some pioneering women will feel the need to “act just like men” – as Margaret Thatcher arguably did. But as their participation, power, and influence become the norm rather than the exception, so too will their natural tendency to lead or rule by persuasion and consensus, instead of presuming, like men, that might makes right.

In fact, the women of Finland have clearly demonstrated that women do not have to act like men to be successful in politics. (The same, I submit, will hold for business or any other professional endeavor.) I HOPE Hillary takes heed….

Related Commentaries:
Cracking glass ceiling
Women make better politicians

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