Argentina has Kirchner, Germany has Merkel, Britain had Thatcher and France nearly had Royal. Could America be ready for Clinton? It sounds ludicrous but in this day and age gender can be a decisive factor in political campaigns. The amount of women in politics in most countries is so low that when a woman with political goals tries to get in the game a stir is caused simply because of her gender. At the global level female participation at parliamentary level is still only 20%. Political pundits and indeed political parties love to play the ‘voters aren’t ready’ card about any new development that threatens to buck the norm. But what exactly does this mean? Voters are too stupid to realise that decisions are made with your brain and not your genitalia? More likely is that the old boys clubs are too stupid to realise that women make up more than half of the population, are over represented in academic achievement and would be equally as successful or disastrous as men if the playing field was levelled.
Granted America hasn’t had the best experience with high powered female politicians of late. Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman and that woman who used to be a witch (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5iWRw3oZdg4) haven’t done much to encourage equality of the sexes in American politics. Much media millage has been made from their faux pas’, tenuous grasps on social and international affairs, not to mention their geographical knowledge. The American media can’t be held completely accountable though for paying so much attention the more unhinged female politicians in America. The two main parties themselves haven’t done enough to be inclusive to enable more women enter the arena. It’s easy to see why people might not be satisfied with the female role models the republican party puts forth, but if they paid less attention to the circus acts and more to the likes of Hilary Clinton, Condelezza Rice, Gabriele Gifford, Nancy Pelosi and Elizabeth Warren its clear to see that there are indeed some outstanding female politicians in the country.
It’s obvious that the more accomplished women in politics belong to the Democrat party but that is not to say that the democrats have a stain free record when it comes to equality and female representation in politics. Just last week the most powerful man in the land made an almost unforgivable observation on the Californian Attorney General’s physical appearance. At a Democratic National Committee Fundraising lunch in California he called her the ‘best looking Attorney General’. Just why he felt the need to reduce such an accomplished person to how she looks is anybody’s guess. The democrat party was quick to brush it off. Obama, realising his mistake, swiftly apologised and normal business was resumed. Various political pundits came out and pushed the tired line of he is a man etc… and was just observing what is fact. Perhaps its true, but the more cynical amongst us could be forgiven for wondering if this ‘gaff’ was a childish ploy to reinstate Obama’s alpha male status amongst his more ‘traditional’ supporters in the wake of his finally ‘evolving’ position on equality for gay people.
When you have the most powerful man in the world making a flippant remark about how one of the most powerful women in the country looks it doesn’t bode well for gender equality in American politics. Perhaps the voters are ready and realise that a woman is just as capable as a man to lead the country, but it would seem that the old boys club still has a bit of ‘evolving’ to do before 2016.