I know the title may not make sense on the surface. Black men overwhelmingly have a harder time being accepted than white women, no question about it. What I am proposing is that being a woman, in the context of leadership, is a greater disqualifier than skin color. As a stellar example, black male slaves were given the right to vote 50 years before women became official “citizens” of the U.S. (140 years after men “birthed” the nation).
A significant percentage of Americans, much like most of the rest of the world, have been socialized to believe men are better than women. Most religious scriptures pin women as the root of all evil and thus deservedly receive second or third rate status. Male politicians legislate women’s choices for them. A belittling media machine, run by men, that is more concerned with appearances than accomplishments. Women make less than men for similar work and fill only 4.4% of Fortune 500 CEO roles (when the data reveals equal if not better performance).
Women have been under men’s thumbs throughout history and getting them out is neither simple nor easy and can cause thumbs to come down even harder.
Finally, a tipping point is on the November horizon. Given men’s rule for thousands of years, these changes in the power hierarchy are unthinkable to many of both genders. What happened to the good ol’ days when men ran the show and women knew their place? Let’s make America great again!
The Republican Presidential candidate’s immolating rhetoric and deplorable depictions of anyone who is not Christian, white, straight and male feeds instinctual “fight or flight” responses in his base to what could be a pivotal and irrevocable change in the male-dominated status quo. Men, in general terms, don’t like seeing their power threatened, particularly by a member of a subjugated class with differing, and thus undesirable, norms. Testosterone’s responses to these scenarios historically manifest themselves as aggression, power, and winning at all costs, no matter how untrue the language and unethical the means.
This fear dynamic also defies logical debate, much less change, as it provides pristine justification to support ingrained beliefs that many simply choose to accept and not question. Relaxing control and getting out of historical comfort zones can be an angst-producing experience for which many lack the mental and emotional backbone and guidance to navigate. In this context, the fact women have considerably less testosterone (read: arrogance) is a distinct advantage to being open to change.
Pierre Trudeau, former Prime Minister of Canada, was quoted as saying “The essential ingredient of politics is timing.” Per my first blog, the time for a female president, a balanced Congress and Supreme Court, and a proliferation of women business and media leaders, here and abroad, has come, and just in the nick of time. I hope the majority of the American populace can harness the courage to look beyond the justifications being fed to them, objectively question their personal pasts, and come up with their own conclusions.
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