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Can Women Govern?

Apr 9, 2008
The answer to that question can be found in the historical record.

From September 23, 1953 to July 7, 1954,Sühbaataryn Yanjmaa acted as Chairman of the Presidium of the People's Great Khural of Mongolia making her the first women political ruler in contemporary history (except for queens).

The first elected female political ruler as well as the first woman president in Europe was Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, president of Iceland from August 1, 1980 to August 1, 1996.

Since then there have been several women presidents. Currently, Mary McAleese is president of Ireland while Helen Clark is the prime minister of New Zealand. She became the second woman prime minister on December 10, 1999 when she succeeded Jenny Shipley.

Maria Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has been the president of the Philippines since January 20, 2001. She is the second women president of the Philippines.

Luísa Dias Diogo is the Prime minister of Mozambique since February 17, 2004. Angela Merkel is the Federal Chancellor of Germany and Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is the president of Liberia since January 16, 2006. She is Africa's first elected head of State.

Michelle Bachelet Jeria is the president of Chile from March 11, 2006. Louise Lake-Tack is the Governor-General of Antigua and Barbuda since July 17, 2007 while Yuliya Tymoshenko has served as the prime minister of Ukraine twice, from January 24 to September 8, 2005 and again since December 18, 2007.

So many women in places of power thoughout the world shows that women can succeed in politics. They can govern and do it well. Mary McAleese, president of Ireland, had so much support for a second term that she stood unopposed. No one was willing to bear the cost of competing in an election that would be very difficult to win.

Even though the United States has not had a female president, there are plenty of examples of females in governing positions. Currently, there are eight women serving as governors of U.S. states. Between December 6, 2006, when Sarah Palin was inaugurated as the first female governor of Alaska, and January 14, 2008, when Kathleen Blanco left office as governor of Louisiana, a record nine women were serving as the chief executive of their states.

In the 110th congress there are 74 female representatives. Currently in the United States senate, there are sixteen women, the highest number in history. One of these women is Hillary Clinton. She was elected senator for New York State in 2000 and was re-elected by a wide margin in 2006. She is currently running for president of the United States and is the first woman to run as a major candidate having won both primaries and delegates.

Even though gender stereotypes in the United States generally indicate that men are perceived as better suited than women for leadership roles (Nieva & Gutek, 1981), world history shows that women can hold leadership positions. Will the United States move past the usual stereotypes and vote a women, Hillary Clinton, into office as president of the United States? If all that she has to overcome is the typical male-female stereotypes, her chances of election would be higher than they actually are as she also has many other skeletons lurking in her closet. A philandering husband, a botched health care proposal, as well as other questionable statements are problems that will have to be overcome as well.

Will her views on the issues, her solutions to the domestic problems and her foreign policies be enough to win the approval of the American public? Will they take precedence over her many skeletons?

If you are a woman, are you going to vote for Hillary simply because she is a woman? If you are a man, are you going to vote against Hillary simply because she is a woman? If your answer falls within these stereotypes, you can see why the US still has a long way to go before joining the other nations of the world in overcoming the gender specific stereotypes.

Yes, history has shown that women can govern. They can lead. Will Hillary take her place as a president, a commander-in-chief? Will she become the first women president of the USA? Will the United States finally join the many nations who have already had female leaders? We will find out this year. It should be interesting.
About the Author
Susan Bernau writes articles that are newsworthy and to the point. More news and the latest news can be found at Hillary Clinton Can!!
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