Solutions: More women in leadership

Don’t tell a feminist or a rational man that Hillary Clinton lost the election fair and square. Despite James Comey, fake news planted by Russia and other dirty tricks, Clinton won by more than 2.9 million votes. She won because she’s a smart, logical problem solver. She lost because she’s a woman.

Look where that got us.

When we eliminate half our potential leaders because of their sex, we end up where we are today. In deep trouble. We need more women in leadership positions because our problems today are destroying our society, our health, our environment and our future. Harvey Weinstein thrived in a culture created, ruled and protected by men.

Want to live in a better society?

Start electing more women, African Americans, Latinos, First Nation people, Muslims, humanists and immigrants who become American citizens. This is not to purport that women and minorities are smarter or have all the solutions. What they do have are different perspectives that are needed to perceive, understand and solve problems.

Want fewer abortions? Make sure all schools teach comprehensive sex education. Make sure all women have access to contraception covered by insurance including Medicaid with no deductibles. Make sure all women have access to safe, legal abortions covered by insurance including Medicaid with no deductibles.

Want fewer wars? Make sure women and other minorities are fully represented in all ranks of the military.

Want a criminal justice system that doesn’t perpetuate a system of mass incarceration based on racial myths and stereotypes? Make sure women and other minorities are represented in Congress, state legislatures and all levels of the judicial system.

Finally, and maybe most important, make sure a free and independent press can operate without control by corporations and presidents.

“Of course we need more women in leadership,” said Dan Silverthorn, retired executive director of the West Central Illinois Building and Construction Trades Council. “I’m not saying women make better leaders, but we need their perspective. Women focus more on social issues, in part because of their genetic makeup.”

Toni Van Pelt, president of the National Organization for Women, wrote in response to the question: “As we set our sights on 2018 and beyond, our next step is clear: to fund, support and vote for women who hold and promote feminist values and elect them to political office. Donald Trump and the extremists in Congress who support him are working every day to roll back healthcare, economic protections and laws that defend women from discrimination.

“Sending more women to Congress will be key to safeguarding these common sense policies. But Congress is only the beginning. Our rights are being rolled back quickly and quietly at the state and local level. We need to elect feminist women at every level of government and drive change from local communities on up.”

Van Pelt was in Peoria recently for the statewide NOW convention and said she would like to see the Girl Scouts of America start a new merit badge for leadership training.

Van Pelt said John McCain was credited by many people for casting the deciding vote against “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act, but it was some key women in Congress who stood firm, who understood the issues of families losing health insurance coverage. Van Pelt speculated that McCain could have been a foil, saving Republicans who felt compelled to comply with Trump’s demand but could be reassured McCain’s no vote would save them from sure wrath back home when their constituents found themselves in worse shape with health insurance.

The Supreme Court decided not long ago that affirmative action for college admission was constitutional but racial quotas were unconstitutional. The debate underscores the need to cultivate a healthy democracy reflective of a diverse society.

Community Word columnist Kamara Taylor often includes this postscript in her emails: “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them,” Albert Einstein.

Clare Howard

Clare Howard is the editor of the Community Word. She can be reached at communityword@yahoo.com



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