A recent Pew Research Center study titled “Men or Women: Who’s the Better Leader?” perfectly captured our conflicted instincts at this moment. Researchers asked the survey participants to list the traits they thought most relevant to being a leader. The top choices were: honest, intelligent, hardworking, decisive, ambitious, compassionate, outgoing and creative. They then asked which gender better embodied each trait. Women tied or bested men on every trait except decisiveness. (On half the measures, the male and female respondents favored their own sex.) Nonetheless, when asked outright, only 6 percent said women are better political leaders than men. That doesn’t make any sense except psychologically, as the kind of confusion and cognitive dissonance that precedes a massive paradigm change. If women have more leadership traits, why aren’t there more women political leaders? A majority of the respondents (56 of the females, 46 of the males) said Americans simply “aren’t ready” to elect a woman to higher office. In other words, we aren’t ready for a woman because we aren’t ready.
In years past, respondents might have said that women were unqualified, or that they should stay home and take care of their children, or that they would break down crying if there was a national crisis. Now they are just saying that psychologically, the nation has not accepted a truth that is empirically obvious. But that’s like a man or woman standing on a diving board, closing his or her eyes and repeating, “I’m not ready! I’m not ready!” It’s a resistance that can last only a little bit longer—a decade, a generation—before we dive in.
Part 2: Vaginas Rule
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