Tag Archives: women

Clinton clinches nomination after 24 years as national political figure

Hillary Clinton isn't the first woman to run for president in the United States, but she is the first to be nominated by a major party. (Facebook)
Hillary Clinton isn’t the first woman to run for president in the United States, but she is the first to be nominated by a major party. (Facebook)

This is a very good piece, and Hillary Clinton’s nomination is of course a milestone that means that, long after many other democratic countries in the world, the United States has, for the first time, a real chance to elect its first female president.USflag

From Victoria Woodhull in 1872 (whose running mate was Frederick Douglass) to Shirley Chisholm in 1972 to Pat Schroder in 1988 to Carol Moseley Braun in 2004, there’s a long line of credible women who have challenged for the presidency, and Clinton’s accomplishment builds upon the stepping stones that they laid down (not least of all her own run for the presidency in 2008).

But without denying this moment’s importance, what’s even more fascinating to me is that someone who has been at the center of American political life for 24 years (I’m not counting over a decade as Arkansas’s first lady), with a record, warts and all, in the first Clinton administration, eight years in the US Senate and four years at State has won a major-party nomination.

The trend, increasingly, has been rapid-fire rises to the top from people who seemingly come out of nowhere. Barack Obama. In a way, George W. Bush, too. Jimmy Carter. Bill Clinton. Enrique Peña Nieto in Mexico, Justin Trudeau in Canada, Tony Blair and David Cameron in Britain. There’s just something undeniably attractive about a ‘shiny new toy’ in electoral politics.

Whatever else, Hillary Clinton is not a shiny new toy. Continue reading Clinton clinches nomination after 24 years as national political figure

Nine European women who could join Hillary Clinton at the top


Part of the undeniable appeal of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign is her push to become the first woman to lead the United States, enhanced by the fact that she aims to succeed the first African-American president.USflag

But, if elected, Clinton will be far from the only powerful woman on the world stage.

If she wins the November 2016 presidential race, she’ll join a list of world leaders that includes German president Angela Merkel, Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Lithuanian president Dalia Grybauskaite, Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff, Danish prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt and Chilean president Michelle Bachelet.

What’s more, there’s never been a better moment for women leading their countries. Assuming that Clinton wins the presidency in 2016 and serves two terms, it’s not inconceivable that she’d lead the United States at a time of ‘peak’ female leadership. But nowhere is that more true than in Europe. In fact, it’s not inconceivable that each of the six largest member-states of the European Union could have women in charge during a potential Clinton administration.

Here’s who they are — and how they might rise to power. Continue reading Nine European women who could join Hillary Clinton at the top

About that 15-minute speech on misogyny by Australian PM Julia Gillard

New York tabloid blog Jezebel has officially awarded Australian prime minister Julia Gillard the title of ‘badass motherfucker,’ after Gillard spent 15 minutes in Australia’s House of Representatives on Tuesday calling out Coalition leader Tony Abbott for misogyny in the wake of a scandal that saw the House speaker resign after admitting to using inappropriate language about women in text messages. 

It’s really the most amazing video out of Australian politics since someone uploaded that ‘Happy Vegemite’ video of former prime minister Kevin Rudd going ballistic.

It’s playing to rave reviews around the English-speaking world — and that’s rare for anything in Australian politics.  Australia is one of the rare countries to have a parliamentary system, but two-party politics.  Gillard, whose Labor party was elected under Rudd in 2007, became prime minister in 2010 after an internal revolt over Rudd’s temperament led to Rudd’s resignation.  Abbott heads the Coalition, which since 1922, has been a coalition of a number of center-right Australian parties, most notably the Liberal and National parties.  Interestingly, Gillard remains more unpopular than Rudd and Abbott remains much less popular than former Coalition leader Malcolm Turnbull.

What’s most interesting is the distinction between how the speech played in Australia and how it’s playing for a global audience, though.  Much of the U.S. and British media commentary is universally glowing — The New Yorker even said Democratic U.S. president Barack Obama, who is widely seen to have turned in a subdued performance in last week’s U.S. presidential debate against Republican Mitt Romney could take some tips from Gillard.  But back in Australia, where Gillard is treading water after finally putting to rest (only temporarily, I assure you) an internal struggle with Rudd earlier in February, in advance of federal elections expected later in 2013, it played to decidedly mixed reviews:

Julia Gillard confronted a stark choice yesterday – the political defence of her parliamentary numbers, or the defence of the principle of respect for women.

She chose to defend her numbers. She chose power over principle. It was the wrong choice. It was an unprincipled decision and turned out not to be pragmatic either. The Prime Minister gained nothing and lost a great deal.

Some of the choice quotes:

And then of course, I was offended too by the sexism, by the misogyny of the Leader of the Opposition catcalling across this table at me as I sit here as Prime Minister, “If the Prime Minister wants to, politically speaking, make an honest woman of herself…”, something that would never have been said to any man sitting in this chair. I was offended when the Leader of the Opposition went outside in the front of Parliament and stood next to a sign that said “Ditch the witch.” Continue reading About that 15-minute speech on misogyny by Australian PM Julia Gillard

Merkel tops Forbes list of top 100 powerful women

German chancellor Angela Merkel is the most powerful woman in the world in 2012, according to Forbes magazine.

It’s a bit whimsical, but that’s probably the right call, considering that no one person has more power, probably, to determine whether the eurozone sticks together or falls apart.

Also on the list are several women of important to world politics:

  • U.S. secretary of state Hillary Clinton (#2),
  • Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff (#3),
  • Indian National Congress Party leader Sonia Gandhi (#6),
  • International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde (#8),
  • Argentine president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (#16),
  • Burmese National League for Democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi (#19),
  • Australian prime minister Julia Gillard (#27),
  • Malawi president Joyce Banda (#71),
  • Nigerian finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (#80),
  • Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (#81), and
  • UAE minister of foreign trade Shiekha Lubna Al Qasimi (#92)

Predictions, questions and thoughts:

  • Where is Danish prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt? Robbed!
  • And where is Icelandic prime minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, the world’s first openly lesbian head of government? Also robbed!
  • Josefina never had a chance.
  • Too soon for Pussy Riot, I suppose.
  • Might Parti québécois leader Pauline Marois make it on next year’s list if she wins the Sept. 4 election in Québec and schedules a referendum on Québec’s independence?
  • Next year, Park Geun-hye could well be South Korea’s new president, which would make her automatically top 20, I presume.
  • Also next year, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Hannelore Kraft become Merkel’s chief opposition.
  • If Silvio Berlusconi makes a comeback in Italy, why not his favorite MP Michaela Biancofiore and the rest of Silvio’s angels?