Monday, December 17, 2007

Wise words from Jordan

I came across an old editorial from the Jordan Times today discussing the mystery of women not supporting women in elections. Why, when women are half the population or more almost everywhere and (often the more civic-ly engaged half) do we need a quota? Walid Sadi says it is because Jordanian society places men on a pedestal, so that even women think they are more qualified than their female competitors.

It's pretty interesting to see a man coming out and suggesting that a woman become PM in order to raise the self-esteem of the country's females. I have struggled mightily to come up with an argument for women to vote for women that doesn't sound "feminist" or beat what I am tempted to call the sisterhood drum - like our most prominent female politician of the moment, I believe that insider play is where you really make your gains - and it thus far eludes me. I believe that women should stick together, and act in their own collective interest, but it's a big leap to say that electing women is in women's collective interest - is it in women's best interest to have a woman representing them who doesn't do an incredible job? It seems likely that a woman who did a bad job would be skewered more harshly than a man - imagine if Laura had been president instead of George. I'm curious how the female members of Congress measure up in performance compared to the men, and how this translates into criticism. Does Nancy Pelosi draw more fire than Harry Reid, or less? Where?

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