Monday, February 11, 2013


A dear friend of mine keeps me up-to-date on news about women -- how they are progressing in the world -- financially, in the hierarchies of power, as well as personally. She sent me a link to Reuters News.

I wasn't in the mood, but the headline was interesting.-- "Are women leaders less corrupt? No, but they shake things up." 

Reporter Stella Dawson, said, "A deeper look at gender and corruption tells us that women are more likely to rise to positions of power... Research has shown that when women are in charge there's less corruption, less bribes, less greed."

The article proved it with examples -- it happened in Lima, Peru's Police Department, ditto in Mexico, and in India, Iran, and Nicaragua.  The reporter reinforced the proof, quoting a World Bank study, which said that women in public office decrease corruption by 10 %.

There were more facts substantiating the fact that women in many national legislatures were reducing corruption, plus quotes, from distinguished psychiatric experts, about differences in male and female brains, explaining why woman decrease corruption, greed and bribery.

The article referenced a Gallup Poll of 140 countries, which said that though two-thirds of adults worldwide believed corruption was widespread, government reports show that with women in charge, corruption has deteriorated.

Yowie -- all that proof -- my eyes got bleary.

Sure, hooray -- there are certainly more women on boards of directors, more female guests on TV news shows, more women on various national and international do-good committees promoting safety, education, health and environment. And you can see that these successful women, usually, (almost invariably), are well-groomed, articulate, 45 to 55-ish, with similarly impressive resumĂ©s, education credentials, and typical private lives. 

To me, this says women are doing what they usually do -- they're conquering new fields, new worlds, and behaving graciously -- doing all the stuff that our mothers and grandma's have brought us up to do.

I am not really interested in the dent made on corruption, or the differences between men and women's brains. The Reuters article makes me painfully aware that. in the 21st century, we are still concerned with 20th century women's lib stuff.

Yep, we are still vying with men, measuring ourselves by men's standards, trying to do a man's job as well or better than a man, and yes -- we're selling this stuff -- selling female success at being more powerful than men,  selling it to men, as well as to other women.

What do I want?

I want the day to come when we women will say right out what we think and feel -- be ruder, cruder, louder, blunter, whatever -- so that we truly affect the next generation, our kids -- males and females, gay, straight, bi, transvestite, male and female -- so that they will think of themselves as different kinds of equals and be equal.

I'll celebrate that.


Carola said...

I used to swim at the local college, and when I was in the locker room I always felt hope. Those athletic young women were so free!

Poet_Carl_Watts said...

I never wish to see women as ruder, cruder, louder or blunter. Each person is unique and sex does fit into that equation. Additionally women do better at being mothers than men do. Men rarely breast feed and mothers should always do that when they have children.

I have no problems with women in power as long as they do not neglect their family to get there. That applies to fathers too.

There is no equality as no two people will ever be the same.

#KnowledgeIsPower! #AwesomeTeam♥☮

Linda Phillips said...

I hate to sound pessimistic, but the fact is that I am. I was an activist in The Women's Movement. I watched the ERA, something I was so sure would pass, go down in flames.

Somethings have changed since that time,oh so long ago, but so little has really changed.

It is so disappointing. And in many ways we are actually moving backwards. The right to an abortion is truly on very shaky grounds now. There are 2 states that are either now without Planned Parenthood Clinics or about to loose the one and only one that remains. This very scary stuff!

I never dreamed that this could happen, but IT IS HAPPENING!

Mary Russell said...

Women have always been powerful hence why men have tried (and failed) to suppress us for centuries. As Beyoncé sang, "Who runs the world? Girls!"

Anonymous said...

Interesting blog Emily. Lots of good info about women and the rise to power and positions. I am very much in awe of the women that are in high level positions and all the good and great things they are accomplishing. If the shoe fits, wear it. I think women in charge is a wonderful thing....kam

JD Holiday said...

I so agree, Em. Once again, you have it right.


Anonymous said...

Hi Em and EveryOne.
Women getting more powerful.
As far as I can see, patriarchy and the good old boys club are alive and well.
I read a statistic once that in India every year, 30 million women are doused with kerosene and set on fire by their husbands to get rid of them. With the compliance of the man's mother.
Whether the statistic is true or not, the image has stayed with me. If anyone ever set me on fire I would embrace them with the hottest hug they ever knew, and proceed to burn down the house and everything I could reach, including my dear mother in law.
The fact that whatever number of women are being immolated don't do this, speaks to a cultural acceptance of the practice. Can you imagine how long the practice would last if those women went out my way?
The pope stepped down. Let's have a female pope.
No way, Jose.
No female priests, or birth control for you either. Or acceptance of gays.
2000 years ago we believed in demons, and by god, they still lead sinners into homosexuality today.
Medical science has found evidence that homosexuality has genetic and inter-uterine causes, but perish forbid we accept modern evidence.
Before the birth control pill, married women, young girls who had sex, and girls/women who were raped, had babies. Now, not always.
With modern medicine, birth control pills and abortions are safe.
But being the man in control of everything is a cushy gig. Hard to give up. Especially when it's been going on so long, and is reinforced by religion and tradition.
Unfortunately, a lot of women buy into this (crap) (snakeoil) belief, too.
I was watching a TV program, Victorian Pharmacy last week. They were showing all the herbs and tinctures the old tyme pharmacists distilled and prepared for the population who could afford them. That is, the wealthy.
In those days, in Britain and doubtless other places, they didn't like to give women painkillers for childbirth. The argument was that if God didn't mean for women to suffer for their sins, HE wouldn't have given them pain in childbirth.
But Queen Victoria (apparently)took marijauna for menstrual cramps. The program narrator's comment was, I wonder what the clergy thought about that.
But another little and extremely popular product of the Victorian Pharmacy was a preparation ingested as a cure for (I can't remember) maybe headaches. It had the beneficial side effect of causing spontneous abortions. This preparation was made from an herb that had been known to (old wives) herbalists for centuries. So it seems that women who had the means, or the way, have been practicing birth control for centuries.
In spite of men and their pious declarations!
Women becoming more powerful.
A Jewish friend of mine told me recently that in Judaeism, despite it being officially a patriarchy, it is the Mother/woman who has the power in the house.
I was raised in the Roman Catholic Church, and believe me, the woman had no power in that family. The callousness and abuse of the Catholic clergy of the fifties is no mystery to me. I lived in it. People born since then, or in more pleasant circumstances, might have a difficult time believing the stories that are coming out today, but they would also have difficulty understanding what it's like to be a child/ grow up at the mercy of adults in unquestioned power.
Or maybe some of them wouldn't.
So I believe, women having power is cultural, broken down not only by country, but also religious beliefs. And probably many more parameters.
Women are only men with uteri. To put it another way, men are only women who cannot bear children. Apparently it can make them very mean.
Might(apparently)(actually does) makes right.
Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Equality is not here yet. Slavery and abuse flourish.
But there is always hope.
The human spirit survives on hope.

Great topic, Em. You sure know how to pick 'em. And press my buttons. :P
Louise Sorensen
louise3anne twitter

Fantastic Books Publishing said...

Hi Em,

At the risk of sounding like a momma's boy, my mother fits right into the 'powerful, gracious women' bracket you outlined above.

She's a very humble author (frustrating to me as her publicist, I can tell you) of many books both fiction and non-fiction, she's won international awards for her crime writing and currently chairs the world's largest writers organisation the ALCS. She is a doctor, has been happily married for over 30 years and commands respect from the whole family without ever asking for or enforcing it.

If I can become half the woman she is, I will be a happy man.

Sure there is terrible sexism out there, especially in government and the workplace, but the thing that seems to run true with all the successful women in the world is that they don't operate from a 'I must beat my male equivalent' position, they simply excel at whatever it is they have chosen to do, regardless of institutionalised sexism along the way.

If only everyone could see from their perspective. I wonder if the most successful women in the world are saying to themselves 'I've done it, I've beaten the odds and made it in a man's world', or instead do they simply say 'I've made it' and leave it at that.

I know many men who lead worthless lives in the shadow of powerful women. Me? I prefer to learn from their example as good, motivated individuals, not from their gender.

There are awful sexists, racists, terrible bigots, violent aggressors, criminal officials, backstabbing double-dealers and all the various scum of the world out there. I just want to be one of the successful people, not one of the resentful ones.

Bottom line, women rock. Men have been (and in many places continue to be) complete testosterone fuelled idiots. But success breeds success and honesty and truth conquers all.

All power to the non-gender specific good folks!

Another wonderful post Em, thank you.

Dan :)

Unknown said...

Hmmm. I think that to be truly strong a woman must be able to make her own choices regardless of what anyone else thinks of those choices.I was a stay at home mother because that’s what I wanted. MY daughter has a very good job, a ten year old and has just had a baby. She will take time off to be with the baby and then go back to work. Do I think that’s the wrong choice ? Of course not. Why? Because a good mother is a happy mother. We all need to be able to work out where we are supposed to be and make it happen :)

Anonymous said...

I honestly do not care.

I usually dont talk politics but- It would be interesting to see how a woman president would run the executive branch in the US.

Merkel,chancellor of Germany, seems to be doing a decent job if there is any corellation between her and the unemployment rate in Germany and their healthy economy.
Julian Speed