Women Coming of Power: The Dawn of a New Era?

It is hard to say when women actually gained their footing in leadership and control.  If you say it started with the Million Woman March of 2019, you have to consider Nancy Polesi.  If you say it started with Nancy Polesi, you have to consider the Me Too Movement.  If you say it started with the Me Too Movement, there is Hillary Clinton winning the popular vote to become the first unofficial female president of the United States of America.    If you say women found traction with Hillary Clinton; there is Malala Yousafzai, Condelisa Rice, Beyonce’s “Who Rule the World” song, Margaret Thatcher, the Million Woman March of 1997, Dr. Mae Jemison, Ellen- Johnson Sirleaf, Katherine Johnson, GI Jane, Wonder Woman, Mother Teresa, Rosie the Riveter, John of Ark, Harriet Tubman, Cleopatra, Queen Elizabeth I, all the way to Eve the apple.  I think it is safe to say that women leadership and control has always been present.

Woman have always demonstrated a level of control in American society. The difference in the power that women are now exhibiting is that the influence has moved from sensual influence, unofficial influence, to political and official influence.  Men boast that woman have sensual power over them and revel in their attraction for women.  We are all familiar with the expression “behind every good man is a good woman.” Now men are feeling pressured that the once men-only world of politics is being invaded by women.  The President Trump and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi battle of the wall is the most recent example of women in power clashing with masculinity.  Being honest with ourselves, we see a woman going against a man along with all the other stuff. There is surely more of it to come giving the political interest that woman are showing in politics. Senator Kamala  Harris recently twitted her intent to pick up where Hillary Clinton left off and run for President in 2020; joining Senators Kirsten Gillibrand,  Elizabeth Warren, Tulsi Gabbard, and Amy Klobuchar, all hopefuls of being the first woman to officially break the glass ceiling for women in America.

Even with the recent show of momentum, women still have a lot of work ahead of them.  “This list names all the women who currently hold CEO positions at S&P 500 companies, based on the January 2018 S&P 500 list.* Women currently hold 24 (4.8%) of CEO positions at those S&P 500 companies,”  (Catalyst, 2018).  The number of woman CEOs is better than the number of black CEOs for Fortune 500 companies.  There are only three. Leaders of the Fortune 500 are already overwhelming the same when it comes to diversity figures: roughly 72% of CEOs on the Fortune 500 are white and males (Shen, 2017).  Hilary Clinton was one of the most qualified people in history to be President.  Her CV is unequivocal.  But she didn’t win.  The talk is that people did not like Hilary Clinton but preferred her opponent, President Trump, and his beliefs, demonstrated history, toughness on immigration, his unique outlook on American society, and his expertise over Hilary Clinton’s experience.   Woman have much to celebrate with the record number of woman obtaining office during the 2018 mid-term elections.  In America, we always want to explain things.  This is probably the case with people in general, but especially within American society.  We like to know, hypothesis, discuss, and give our opinions about things.  So what does it mean, that women are moving the chains down the field?  I have a few ideas but my top three are 1) Change is constant 2) America is looking for leaders that will give us relief from all that we are going through with government and women are stereotyped as being more rational, sensible, and caring than men and 3) Women see an opportunity to move the chains and they are going for it, which is different than (1) the change of times. 

Regardless of the reason, something is happening; for how long who knows, but something is happening at the moment.  Back to the question what does it mean? I can feel the women ready to cheer or throw something at me now as they wait for the “what is he about to say” moment to pass.  The last big female renaissance era moved women from the kitchen to the office, from the home childcare to being the family breadwinner in some cases.  The question of can women survive in Washington can be answered with a comical reference to Ervin Berlin’s song “Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better.”   I’m sure President Trump is thinking that Nancy Pelosi is playing the game just as tough as any man, if not better.  Neither side seems to have an obvious bleeding heart for the furloughed. Before President Trump called her Crooked Hillary, America called Hillary Clinton Hillary the Hun, The Wicked Witch of the West Wing and simple The Devil.  So, I don’t think there is any question that women can play hardball just as well as a man.  I’m wondering if America is looking for rational leadership.  Leadership and politics have run amuck over the last ten years with the boys club at the helm.  Are the recent events surrounding elections a plea from Americans wanting good leadership, stability, and a calmer society?  Or is the recent surge of feminine political interest just another symptom of an America that is experiencing the growing pains of change? Time will tell. In the meantime, don’t stop until you crack that glass ceiling. And “when” you crack the ceiling ladies, be the change that America needs and not more of the same. Stand taller than Cindy Hyde-Smith. Show the boys how it is done.

References

Catalyst. (2018). Women CEOs of the S&P 500. Retrieved from Catalyst.org: https://www.catalyst.org/knowledge/women-ceos-sp-500

Shen, L. (2017, October 18). The Retirement of Amex’s Ken Chenault Means Just 3 CEOs on the Fortune 500 Are Black. Retrieved from Fortune: http://fortune.com/2017/10/18/american-express-ceo-ken-chenault-black/

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