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Men dither while women lead in the world

Posted by on Oct. 13, 2013 at 10:21 PM
  • 13 Replies
2 moms liked this

Men dither while women lead in the world

By Hanna Rosin, Special to CNN
updated 1:35 PM EDT, Fri October 11, 2013
Federal Reserve nominee Janet Yellen could show male leaders a thing or two about getting things done, Hanna Rosin says.
Federal Reserve nominee Janet Yellen could show male leaders a thing or two about getting things done, Hanna Rosin says.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Hanna Rosin: A leader guiding a nation to prosperity? Obama? No, Angela Merkel in Germany
  • She says news full of dithering male leaders, while a woman has been picked to head the Fed
  • She says competence in global leadership belongs to women like IMF chief Christine Lagarde
  • Rosin: This may be the week when the world realizes women are better at the helm

Editor's note: Hanna Rosin is the author of "The End of Men: And the Rise of Women," now out in paperback. She is co-founder of Slate's DoubleX, a Web magazine about women issues.

(CNN) -- This important leader handles the debt crisis with grace, navigating expertly between austerity and growth. The leader's opponents grumble, more out of jealousy than genuine opposition, and loyal supporters hail the leader as a hero. The leader's popularity soars; re-election is not in question. Meanwhile, unemployment is at an all-time low, and the leader's nation is looking like its own island of prosperity, a beacon to a suffering continent.

For President Barack Obama, this is a daydream. For German Chancellor Angela Merkel, this is life. Funny how the most admired leader of the Western world right now, the clearest example we have of consistent success during trying times, is a woman.

Hanna Rosin
Hanna Rosin

The pictures in the news, day after day, tell the story: House Speaker John Boehner looks like he hasn't slept in weeks. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell looks like he swallowed a lemon. Sen. Ted Cruz looks bizarrely smug while the world crumbles around him, and Obama can only shake his head and loosen his collar. The only Washington type who was smiling on the front page of the newspaper this week was Janet Yellen, newly nominated by Obama to be the chair of the Federal Reserve, and anointed by one observer as the most powerful woman in world history.

Oh, and there was one other person smiling in Washington: Christine Lagarde, chief of the International Monetary Fund, who was in the U.S. capital for the organization's annual meeting and who said just about the only sensible thing anyone in town has said all week on the debt ceiling crisis: "I hope that in a few weeks' time, we will look back and say, 'What a waste of time that was.' "

This has not been a shining week for the patriarchy. The men in suits dither, posture, plan negotiation sessions and then cancel them, and employ copious military metaphors -- "wage battle," "refuse to surrender" -- to no effect. Increasingly they become associated in the minds of the American people with verbs normally used to describe toddlers, such as "tantrum" or "throw a fit."

Malala on the Nobel Peace Prize

Janet Yellen: 'Small lady with large IQ'

Lagarde on European 'green shoots'

Competence, meanwhile belongs to the women, particularly in the usually macho world of global finance. Over in Europe, Merkel was re-elected on the basis of her deft handling of the eurozone crisis, and in the United States, monetary policy was entrusted to Yellen. Making the victory extra sweet for women, she was chosen instead of Lawrence Summers, who will forever be remembered for saying women aren't that good at math.

And this moment of female triumph extends beyond mere competence to unfathomable bravery. The hero of the moment -- the person who has been shot at, nearly killed and is still not afraid to talk -- is a heroine: 16-year-old Malala Yousafzai, who was nominated for a Nobel Prize and who told Jon Stewart this week that if she were faced with a Taliban gunman such as the one who shot her last year she would, once again, explain to him how important education is for girls. (In response Stewart asked if he could adopt her.)

Perhaps this will be remembered as the week when everything shifted, when we realized that leaving groups of men in charge of global decisions and of facing down terrorists is not a good idea, and we'd better calmly hand the reins over to the women.

Don't laugh. It happened in Iceland. Lagarde described the transfer of power recently on a panel at the Clinton Global Initiative. She explained how women brought Iceland out of its recession. After the economy crashed, "the banks, the funds, the government -- everything was taken over by women," she told The Wall Street Journal. "So when it's messy, you get the women in. But when the mess is sorted," she added, "keep the women."

Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.

National Woman's Party


by on Oct. 13, 2013 at 10:21 PM
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Replies (1-10):
survivorinohio
by René on Oct. 14, 2013 at 12:24 AM

*bump*

Bookwormy
by Platinum Member on Oct. 14, 2013 at 12:56 AM
2 moms liked this
USA male leaders certainly look like dithering idiots right now!
Aestas
by Gold Member on Oct. 14, 2013 at 3:28 AM

Yes, they do.

Quoting Bookwormy:

USA male leaders certainly look like dithering idiots right now!


christina259
by on Oct. 14, 2013 at 4:20 AM
2 moms liked this

The older I get the more I realize how women can handle the world and keep on ticking. Men do seem to be just as they described in the article. I think it's ironic how much men in general act like women are weaker and less capable when its they who are weaker and less capable. I'm not talking about physical strength but I'm talkingv about thingsc that make you mentally stronger like coping skills and logic. Maybe I'm wrong but it seems time and time again I see a man being not so smart and overly aggressive. Maybe I'm just surrounded by the wrong men or maybe its true. 

christina259
by on Oct. 14, 2013 at 4:22 AM

BUMP!

cjsbmom
by Lois Lane on Oct. 14, 2013 at 6:35 AM
1 mom liked this

Women are used to multitasking. We're used to having the weight of the world on our shoulders and still going strong. The so-called male leaders of this country could learn a thing or two from us. 

AdrianneHill
by Platinum Member on Oct. 14, 2013 at 6:46 AM
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I think the reason female attributes are denigrated and ignored is directly related to how effective women are and how terrified men are of a physically weak but still capable opponent. And though we are not opponents, that is how they see us. Don't think for a minute the blame should fall on the people who are pointing out the blatantly sexist verbiage and actions that interspersed out lives. They see the ones who make it possible to root it out. Haven't you noticed that women are different from "normal people"? What you mean, women are different from the other less than half of the population?
To think of how different things are. My parents were lamenting the change in James Bond movies and how sensitive he had become (this was before super hot Daniel Craig had taken over) and how the roles of women werent as "fun" as they had been. So dh and I watched Thunderball again and start only about ten minutes, he looked at me and said "I think James Bond just raped that girl." It was when the nurse had left him alone, someone tried to kill James, she thinks she messed up and is afraid of losing her job, James says he won't tell on her if she had sex. She is saying no still as he is pulling her into the room. That isn't smooth, it's rape. If not rape, at the very least predatory.
And because of overly sensitive feminist types, Bullshit like that isn't allowed on the screen anymore as the archetype of the smooth, ladies man. So yay to the women who won't be cowed and say "quit grabbing my ass, I don't care who used to think it was a compliment!"
rfurlongg
by on Oct. 14, 2013 at 8:01 AM
Bump :-).
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idunno1234
by Silver Member on Oct. 14, 2013 at 8:58 AM
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I wish the shift was more than make believe but I'm afraid we still live very much in a patriarchal world.

Of course women are just as capable as men in any kind of brain work there is.  Our weakness has to do with average size and muscle mass compared to men.   We are not slaves to testosterone- the macho, competitive, win at all costs, violence is an acceptable means to an end, compromise=weakness type shit.  Women are awesome at multi tasking but even more important, tend to rate much higher on the empathy spectrum, something far too many men are lacking and aren't taught growing up. 

Empathy skills allow for much better negotiation and a more fluid, more realistic mindset.  It allows for a perspective that is utterly necessary and too often missing when men try to do stuff.  That's why men go to war.

That being said, women who claw their way to the top in a man's world sometimes are forced to take on male characteristics in order to be taken seriously.  Women are their own worst enemies and instead of supporting each other, tend to tear at each other- just like we see on this site all the time.  Some of the worst bosses I had were women bosses.

I think women need to embrace their strengths, not be ashamed of them as being too...female.  We need to embrace each other, support each other, build each other up instead of tearing each other down.  If we can't act as a somewhat cohesive force, we will always be treated as less than.

And that Malala girl is AWESOME!

Bookwormy
by Platinum Member on Oct. 14, 2013 at 11:56 AM
maybe government is filled with the wrong men!

Quoting christina259:

The older I get the more I realize how women can handle the world and keep on ticking. Men do seem to be just as they described in the article. I think it's ironic how much men in general act like women are weaker and less capable when its they who are weaker and less capable. I'm not talking about physical strength but I'm talkingv about thingsc that make you mentally stronger like coping skills and logic. Maybe I'm wrong but it seems time and time again I see a man being not so smart and overly aggressive. Maybe I'm just surrounded by the wrong men or maybe its true. 

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