Friday, August 19, 2011

Woman President - Is the United States ready for a woman as the Commander in Chief?

On March 7, 2011 this is was the question that Eva Cepeda (spelling?) of El Salvador asked at the Q&A session of the 100 Women Initiative seminar, and while it has been reported that the question left the three women moderators speechless, the answers they give have not been put under a microscope.  This was the last question of the seminar and had the most telling reaction on top of answer.  The women responding questions were the Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Judith McHale, Assistant Secretary of Education Ann Stock and Clinton's chief of staff Cheryl Mills...

...And their answers were roundabout, wandering, but essentially, "Not quite." They seemed not to want to admit that the United States as a whole was not ready in 2008 to see a woman as president.  Today they could readdress the question and maybe reference the Straw Poll of Iowa, but up until then no woman has come as close as now Secretary Clinton.  Now some might say there hasn't been any woman qualified for the job, but I beg to differ.  What I see is an unwillingness to acknowledge an actual problem in our own backyard.  While women in Latin America have made those strides, and the very woman who asked this question referenced the President of Costa Rica, President Rousseff of Brasil, Chile, and the former President of Panama, the United States lags in this area.  I believe part of that is the strong identification America has with "Traditionalism." While traditional values have their place and their strength, there should be room for growth and especially the growth of the position and power of women in this country.

Additionally, because women enjoy actual representation in the United States and have actually been getting out to vote more than men, and since more are completing college presently than men, there's a tendency to pretend there is no problem.  Cheryl Mills ended her answer saying the Latin America is a model of the "opportunities that we have to do the same thing." As though we are perfectly capable but luck hasn't panned out for us yet.  I may believe that after 2012, but up until this election women have not had as great of chance.  In a struggling economy it is difficult to say where women's progress towards equality in fields of pay and work will go.  It has been the trend that when the Military downsizes, the restrictions imposed based on gender are heightened. That cannot happen this time.

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