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.