wOw's Question of the Week

Madeleine Albright & Ted Turner

At the TEDWomen conference this week in Washington, D.C., Ted Turner said: “If women were heads of state for the next 100 years, we’d have a better world.” Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright later commented: “If you think that women would run the world better, then you’ve forgotten high school.” Who’s right?

Liz Smith: Oh, I don’t agree with the divine Madame Albright. I think Germany’s female leader is proving herself to be tough and very much in charge of Europe’s and the euro’s fates.  We could all try having women leaders; they simply couldn’t be any worse.

I find myself living in a world where the majority of the accomplished women I know are the breadwinners and movers and shapers of their families. Their men are would be artists, creators, writers or stay-at-home, raise-the-kids types. This doesn’t mean their contributions aren’t great, but it sure as hell is the women who dominate everything. Is this a trend? I grew up where men were always the breadwinners. That didnt exactly “work” either.

I was a big backer of Hillary Clinton and I finally surrendered to Barack Obama as my compromise. Well, if Hillary were President you can bet the Democrats would not have lost ground in the last midterm election when Obama never got around to explaining to the American people how crucial the stakes were. He just stumbles for lack of leadership explanation. Imagine Hillary in the same situation; we’d still be dominating the House and the Senate. No woman would have let herself be Tea Party-whipped the way Obama let himself be. He just stood there. He never seems to do anything right or to be able to explain it when he is right. He is my President and I will still back him. But do I wish the U.S. had a woman in the White House? Yes.  And I wish it were Hillary Clinton.

And it’s probably too late for that.

P.S.  There were some real female idiots running in the primaries, from Delaware to Arizona and more. But the Congress, male dominated, as it stands, is the worst bunch of ideologues and selfish panderers to the rich, the least patriotic in the history of this country. An all-woman Congress would have to do better. They’d be ashamed not to. FOR INSTANCE, JOHN MC CAIN: a turncoat liar and hypocrite. I think Sarah Palin is downright refreshing next to him.

Joan Ganz Cooney: While women historically are less violent than men, experience tells us that women in high office seem to like to show how tough they are and behave no better toward individuals  or other nations than their male counterparts. Would you rather have Sarah Palin or Michelle Bachman as president than Barack Obama? Even though he continues the Afghanistan war and is far from perfect, we know he is not basically a killer. Watching her shoot a caribou on television for the entertainment of viewers tells us all we need to know about some crazy generalization about women and men. It all depends on which woman or which man we’re talking about.

18 Responses so far.

  1. avatar Joan Larsen says:

    Come on.  When I was first in political office long ago, I was the only woman on an otherwise all-male board.  It was so early for women to be in force in politics that I remember giving a speech before all women in our state’s capital who had gathered to hear how one achieved that office.  It was an interesting time.  As time passed, women made great strides until in most offices I have had – within and outside of politics – women have become the vast majority.

    The higher I have risen, the more I realize that men and women must be judged for office on their own credentials and not their gender.  I have been in awe of some women — but do notice that they seem to have privately chosen their profession to be their lives to achieve what they do.  Decisions are made that private lives are diminished to the point of almost disappearing.  Same, of course, goes for men at the top.

    We must never get off the path of asking ourselves if the person is the best qualified for the position.  We must look closely at the background and experience performed well in past positions.  They have to get along well with others — but have superior brains and be sharp and fast on their feet when needed.  Yes, Merkel is one of the best examples in the present day of women who deserve applause for how they run their countries and are seen by the rest of the world. 

    Frankly, I don’t see the like of the handful of women who have achieved greatness and deserved it standing in lines in wait.  We should be looking for the best qualified man or woman — and even then, it seems we must have our fingers crossed. 

    • avatar brad berger says:

      Hey Joan what happened to the ERA? It is time for women to have a national strike until the ERA is ratified. Power to the majority that now has minority rights. The liberal men don’t even let the ERA out of committee.

  2. avatar Bonnie O says:

    Liz –  I do understand the disappointment with the President especially by the Hillary camp.  However, the inability of the President to take charge of a debate or an issue is due to his lack of leadership experience.  In his first year, both the Speaker and the Senate Majority Leader took the lead in most debates, leaving the President on the sidelines.  Currently, he is being “pushed back”, quite effectively,  by the newly elected GOP representatives who are filing into Washington on a magic carpet of tea bag resolve.

    The President is now two years into his Presidency;  if he has not learned to take charge and handle crisis management by now,  then I think he has achieved lame-duck status.

  3. avatar Bonnie O says:

    Unfortunately, I do think Madeline Albright makes a good point re her comment re women running the world.   Some women would be failures just as some men have proven to be failures.   The difference is that women have been shut out of the leadership roles for most nations and, thereby, they have had little chance to show success.   If all things were equal, I daresay the success of women versus men would not be that much greater, if at all.

  4. avatar Sue Fawcett says:

    I disagree with Madame Albright and do not necessarily agree with Ted Turner. I think the truth lies somewhere between the two, and that the male or femaleness of the person in charge is largely irrelevant. However, I think there would likely be far less of an inclination to engage in warfare if women were heads of state, due to their close connection to the birth process (and hence, greater respect for life) and (let’s face it) their far lower level of testosterone. As a result, the world would likely end up in a better place in many respects.

  5. avatar Baby Snooks says:

    I have a problem with a woman who would say, as Madeline Albright said, that the deaths of 500,000 children were worth it. Any children. Anywhere.  And as for Hillary Clinton I don’t recall her addressing that statement or addressing the policies of her husband which is what Madeline Albright was defending. A woman without the maternal instinct is a sad thing. And a dangerous thing in an already dangerous world. 

    A woman with the maternal instinct probably does make a difference. There aren’t too many of them it appears. Not in Washington anyway.

  6. avatar Mary says:

    I also think that the answer is somewhere in the middle.  For the most part I believe that there are tremendously gifted, smart, creative, talented women in our country that are not acknowledged or appreciated and their talents used and the ones who make it into the public are quickly put back behind a man.  Please remember I said for the most part.  Not that many years ago the majority of Americans said that a woman would never be powerful in this country because they are too emotional.  If for instance John Boehner was a woman he would be laughed out of Washington and labeled as “weak”.  I like him, don’t get me wrong. 

    In some ways I think Madeline got it right about the high school statement.  Seems that I see the high school mentality quite often and most annoying.  But, I don’t put everyone in that category either.  As far as leadership and women , men don’t seem to understand that most of us are not that different than men in regards to thinking about what the woman or man in question will contribute to our world and we all don’t agree or support a woman just because she is a woman. When I see or hear that suggestive thinking from men I think women have a long way to go in educating them, but when I hear that kind of thinking from women I think, wow, have we not learned anything?

  7. avatar Count Snarkula says:

    Oh I think it must depend on the woman.  Just as it depends on the man.  I don’t think we can generalize here.  For example, Ann Richards was a yes.  Sarah Palin is a no.

  8. avatar Paul Smith says:

    There are a number of corporate women who are as ruthless and calculating and heartless as any of their male counterparts.  Lady Macbeth resonates for a reason.

  9. avatar brad berger says:

    How about a national holiday in honor of a woman?

  10. avatar Mary E. Sayler says:

    It makes little difference whether the person in charge is male or female.  Gender is not the problem.  I was raised by my parents to believe that I could do anything I wanted to do.  Society in the 50’s and 60’s gave women only 3 rodes to travel for a career.  You could be a Nurse (I didn’t like blood), a Secretary/Book Keeper (i had been doing parts of that since I was 9) or a Teacher.  As a Teacher for 36 years I found that most of the male Principals were competant with their power but the same could not be said of the 3 female Principals.  I found that the females were threatened by competance in other females.  They would do anything to destroy them.  When you are in a position of power what counts is your basic morality and conduct.  A moral, competant, empathetic person will always do the job well and not let power go to his/her head to the detriment of those around them.   

  11. avatar Belinda Joy says:

    I think neither is correct.
    We are treading on dangerous ground when we start making assumptions about who is better to lead based on gender. I am all for equality among the races and sexes. That is what is so desperately missing in our society. There is nothing about women that makes us “better than” or “less than” men and vice versa.
    My hope is that in the next 100 years as our country continues to change, with increased racial diversity, open mindedness about sexual preference and the line between gender definitions in the work place blurring – that conversations like this will be viewed as antiquated.

  12. avatar Deeliteful says:

    Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright later commented: “If you think that women would run the world better, then you’ve forgotten high school.”

    I don’t even know what that means.  Is she comparing full grown, intelligent women to those silly girls most of us were in high school?  I like to think I’ve matured somewhat over the past 40 years.

  13. avatar Chip Griswold says:

    Exactly!  Leadership is in the individual, not the gender.  JMO

  14. avatar SCOUT18 says:

    I genuinely believe that women tend to have more humanity and humility in general.  If ALL world leaders were women, then I believe war, violence, fighting over land and natural resouces, etc., would be handled in a more logical, less violent way — maybe even all the way to the highest good of all.  Also, women can handle the ego a little better.   I heard a conversation from a Native American Indian Tribal Elder who said:  “We should all be leaders to ourselves, instead of looking to others to follow.”