Every once in awhile, a person in my orbit says things about how “catty” older women can be. Or how annoying women’s voices are because they are “squeaky.” Or how people “get things for ‘being a woman.'”
Because, you know, men in power are always so fair-minded and reasonable, always, and men never have irritating voices or anything. And men? Men just earn everything they get. If men get anything, it’s because they fricking earned it. Especially if that man is white because he’s had to struggle against the monumental odds of those far-reaching affirmative action regimes. Why, men never don’t get a job just because they weren’t the best candidate that day. That’s just crazy talk! Unless, well, another man got the job. But if a women or a person of color gets the job or the promotion instead, we all know what happened, don’t we? Because the idea–the very idea–that a woman might be more meritorious than a man–I ask you.
Who puts these things in my head?
The appointment of Christine Lagarde to the head the IMF has me reflecting. With her appointment, there is the offchance hopes that despite “being catty” (as we all know), she won’t disgrace the organization by spending her time
acting like a knuckle-dragging horndog or assaulting hotel staff being-a-fair-minded,powerful-voiced-masculine-dude-he-man-we-can-all-respect like her predecessor Dominique Strauss-Kahn.
I’ve been thinking about the number of female heads of state; these are only a selection:
Mary McAleese, President of Ireland since 1997, through the boom and bust.
Tarja Halonen, President of Finland
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia
Pratibha Patil, President of India, aka the world’s largest democracy
President Cristina E. Fernández de Kirchner, President of Argentina
Quentin Bryce (I love her name; why can’t my name be that cool?), Governor-General of Australia
Sheikh Hasina Wajed, Prime Minister of Bangladesh
Julia Gillard, Prime Minister of Australia
Laura Chinchilla Miranda, President of Costa Rica
Roza Otunbayer, President of Kyrgystan.
Edited to add: Quibblers abound! I got the following by email from sharp-eyed reader Kevin:
As it turns out Julia Gillard is not a “head of state” but rather a “head of government.”
Queen Elizabeth II is Australia’s head of state. Technically, the Governor-General is not the head of state either, but rather the Queen’s representative. Though, he or she acts on behalf of the Queen in the her absence. So I’ll let that one slide. Nevertheless for your information, it is QEII who signs Aussie laws.
Ok,yes, but I rejected monarchs due to the heredity nature of the post. But I was fast and loose with the word “state” rather than “government.” Why this is important is not readily apparent to me, but that’s probably just me.