Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Madam President

In Liberia, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf was inaugurated. Her country is war-torn and her task enormous. I have a theory that women are more likely to be given or elected into positions of power when the job is to clean Augean* stables; impossible, in other words. But I hope that Johnson-Sirleaf is a good shoveler.

In Chile, a woman was also elected to run the country. Michelle Bachelet is a leftist, a feminist and an atheist. Yet she won in this overwhelmingly Catholic country. She even intends to have a cabinet with equal numbers of men and women.

On the other hand, the United States of America is not ready for a female president, I just read on the net. We are too fragile for such an experiment and it's against family values to let women have equal lives. I hope such naysayers are wrong, but I can see where they are coming from: fragile red state egos.

And a tiny speck of feminism: My eagle's eye caught something about the way these new female presidents were introduced. At least a few sources do it this way:

Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has been sworn in as Liberia's new president, becoming Africa's first elected female head of state and vowing to lead the country away from its turbulent past.

Sirleaf took the oath of office Monday at an inauguration ceremony in the capital of Monrovia attended by dignitaries and leaders from around the world.

The 67-year-old grandmother, who was elected in a run-off vote in November, has promised to unite Liberia by ending political corruption and rebuilding her country after civil war between 1989 and 2003 left some 200,000 dead.

The Chilean President-elect, Michelle Bachelet, has pledged to name a cabinet with an equal number of men and women.

The mother-of-three also told a news conference on Monday that she would strive to root out Chile's embedded social divide.

Bolds are mine. Have you ever read George Bush described as the father-of-two?
*Augean stables, because my original spelling of Aegean stables was voted down in the comments. Heh.