I don't see opportunity as a gender issue. Everyone deserves it. Likewise, I don't see success once in political office as primarily a gender issue. There are conflicts and difficulties brought on by what it means in our society to be a man or a woman and the way one reacts to and comes to understand those conflicts can certainly set up habits of the mind that appear to have come from gender bias, but it does not follow those habits are derived from gender.
In the U.S., we are in a time of lingering hostility and conflict between men and women that has been produced by the success of women moving beyond traditional roles. Some men resent this success and some women are constantly on alert to try to prove how strong and powerful they are in their newly acquired roles. This is tiresome on both counts. I have encountered many women who are apparently fatigued of being women and insistent on being obnoxious men in a dress.
It is wrong to believe that "if we only had more women in this job" things would be marching toward perfection, just as it was wrong to think that African-Americans serving in political positions would cure the persistent problems of racism and its long, long aftermath. A woman, for example, might be particularly alert to any other female threatening her position and want to stifle that person. In the social dynamic, everything is dynamic, changing all the time. The idea that women being promoted would lead toward vast improvement, by necessity, is one of the lies told in the name of the revolutionary effort so as to permit more women to move forward, specifically those women who were writing and talking about the need for major change. All revolutions tell lies.
One of the tricky parts of the women's movement, which nonetheless was successful, was selling the idea that women are just as good, just as capable as men BUT somehow better, too. Women were promoted as virtuous where men were seen as evil and self centered. Women were to be champions of peace, whereas men were champions of war and death. But, through it all, the argument of innate equality was put forward. Does anyone see the contradiction?
The fact is, everything changes but nothing changes. Making social progress is maddeningly difficult, no matter who holds the keys to power. The greater participation of women, in general, is all to the good. It makes for a richer, more inclusive social order. But it does not ensure justice, peace or the arrival of a utopia.
One of my great disappoints having lived through changes brought about by full participation in work and social interaction by women is to learn, first hand, that women can be as mean, thoughtless and rude as men. I actually think I have been given the finger, shot the bird, by more women drivers in the last ten years than by men. Wow, we've really got equality now. Can we get back some measure of civility? I think not.
Doug Terry, 3.911