Let the women rule

The Sunday Times has an interesting feature on women leaders. Sarah Baxter asks “Are we ready for a triumvirate of Iron Ladies?” Hilary Clinton in the USA, Angela Merkel in Germany, and Ségolène Royal in France.

Last year, I interviewed Stella Chiweshe, the Zimbabwean Diva, at the WOMAD Festival in Reading. She was the first woman to achieve popularity playing the mbira, the traditional African instrument… so naturally I asked her about the role of women in her culture. She gave me a more globalised answer:

“I tell you: Let the women lead! It is the woman who feels the pain of burying a child. You men just say “my child, my son, my daughter” for pleasure. You never feel these pains. You suffer, I know you suffer, men, but not as women suffer. And if you let us rule, you see how happy you will be! You are only making yourselves sad. You men are creating problems for yourself. They say a man without a wife is not a good ruler. Why is that? It is because we feel he needs that support. So why don’t you sit back and let the women rule, and then support her instead? Then the world will be so peaceful, because we wouldn’t create so many wars.”

As Baxter points out, the evidence so far might not support this view. Margaret Thatcher, Golda Meir and Indira Gandhi all became the first women to lead their respective countries, yet all took their country to war.

8 Replies to “Let the women rule”

  1. “You suffer, I know you suffer, me, but not as women suffer”.

    Men:
    Shorter life expectancy
    More likely to have a serious illness
    More likely to be permanently disabled
    More likely to suffer mental illness
    More likely to commit suicide
    More likely to be a victim of crime
    More likely to be murdered
    More likely to be sent to and die in war

    Enough suffering for everyman I would say.

    “Then the world will be so peaceful, because we wouldn’t create so many wars.”

    This is popular feminist wish fullfillment. Women leaders are not new and as you say there is no evidence that women exercise power any differently or less destructively than men. It is *power* which corrupts, not the gender of the person exercising it.

  2. The retort to this is that this is because the women are still operating within the patriarchy, playing the male game of power and control. If all countries were ruled by women, the dynamic would shift.

    When talking about suffering, Stella was talking specifically about the mental pain experienced on the death of a child, not human suffering in general.

  3. Men usually suffer at the hands of other men (four out of five perpetrators of violent crime are men, according to statistics.gov.uk).

    Maybe time for our male leaders to effect some change?

  4. I can’t think what women would do with the world we’ve been given. Fear is its god, and death its glory and capitalism its true nature and core political form – for all these things serve the power of the patriarchy, as do all religions.
    It’s all a primitive worship of the male form and core male values – which the likes of Clinton, Thatcher et al have to dress up and ape.
    Someone (a woman) said so succinctly on radio last Sunday words to the effect of: there has never been more fear in our society, more craving for the chimera of security, more exposure to surveillance and curbs on our freedoms or more extremism – and isn’t capitalism doing nicely?

  5. The retort to this is that this is because the women are still operating within the patriarchy, playing the male game of power and control. If all countries were ruled by women, the dynamic would shift.

    Women leaders are forced to operate within reality, not “the patriarchy”. The reality is that power is relative to the resources around which all conflict is ultimately centred. Women want resources just as much as men (albeit for slightly different reasons) and unless science comes up with a way of producing unlimited resources, there is no logical reason why there should be any less global conflict under global female rule. There are obvious links between resources, war and capitalism, so agree that would be a good place to start the revolution…

    “there has never been more fear in our society, more craving for the chimera of security, more exposure to surveillance and curbs on our freedoms or more extremism”

    I’m not sure that’s historically true – I wasn’t around during World War 2 but it’s axiomatic that the population were under surveillance of a sort, subject to authoritain control, curbs on freedom, and a huge amount of the negative conditioning which induces both fear and out group hostility.
    I did grow up in the UK during the Cold War and the height of “the troubles” in Northern Ireland – both of which induced a vague feeling of insecurity. With almost identical justfications similar curbs were introduced then as now (1970s “sus” laws, internment, etc) and identical complaints were voiced (victimization of religious and ethnic minorities, civil liberties infringements, police state etc)

    There are obvious paralells between the past and the present – subsitute “Islam” for “Communism”, “IRA” for “Alqeda” and “Environmental” for “Nuclear” armageddon and todays Daily Mail could be from 1975.

  6. “Men usually suffer at the hands of other men (four out of five perpetrators of violent crime are men, according to statistics.gov.uk).

    Maybe time for our male leaders to effect some change?”

    Unless you are suggesting a global transgenic programme to alter male DNA I can’t see what politicians could do

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