Would the world be better if it were run by women?
- Britannica defines a matriarchy as a 'hypothetical social system in which the mother or a female elder has absolute authority over the family group; by extension, one or more women (as in a council) exert a similar level of authority over the community as a whole.'
- The first woman to be elected as the 'head of a government in the modern world' was Ceylon's (later Sri Lanka) Sirimavo Bandaranaike in 1960.
- The UN reports that as of September 2021, 'Just ten countries have a woman Head of State, and 13 countries have a woman Head of Government.'
- A Pew Research survey of over 2,000 American adults found that only 6% of respondents believed that 'women make better political leaders than men.'
- According to Britannica, the US, Russia, China, Mexico, and Nigeria have never elected a female leader.
The world could be better off being run by women for many reasons, and it's really not that radical of an idea. In fact, throughout history, there have been many indigenous groups that were led by women, and even today, there are matriarchal societies on several continents.
Female-led societies don't have to be modeled after extreme examples like the mythical Amazonians. Instead, real examples are inclusive and have been described as having 'peace, plenty, and harmony with nature.' And this sentiment seems to fit in with the historical roles of women as studied by anthropologists and evolutionary biologists.
Historically, women kept the family unit together and built the ties to form tribes. While the men of early societies were hunting, women were the glue of a stable civilization. Further, generally speaking, women tend to be more agreeable than men, which helps in finding compromise between society’s diversity of interests.
Women also tend to be less aggressive than men, which minimizes the chances of conflicts becoming violent. As Janet Napolitano, the US Secretary of Homeland Security, points out, women are 'a little more collaborative in their approach overall, and a little less driven to conflict,' which is necessary to finally solve pressing issues like education, healthcare, homelessness, and food security.
Most notably, however, having women in positions of power may even bring world peace, as currently, more than 50% of peace agreements fail within five years. The UN discovered that women were 'less than 10% of negotiators and less than 3% of the signatories in peace agreements.' For the sake of our future, women should rule the world.
Who runs the world? Not girls despite the songs and slogans claiming otherwise. In fact, only 5% of Fortune 500 CEOs and only 24% of Congress are females.
Despite their gender’s qualities and skills, women may not be able to transform the world into a better place. If they could, they probably would have done so already. After all, they’re more motivated to be autonomous and flexible than men.
Unfortunately, women are still defined by stereotypes that may undermine their authority and prevent them from moving to the top. What’s worse is that they need to play by the political rules of a man’s world to lead.
Indira Gandhi, Golda Meir, and Margaret Thatcher are examples of women who followed their male counterparts’ footsteps and waged wars. Even Hillary Clinton championed the violent intervention in Libya while serving as secretary of state.
Now, this doesn’t mean that women can’t rule at all. Several matriarchal societies have been thriving with women leading them.
However, even the largest kingdom of women in China isn’t recognized as one of the country’s minorities. Therefore, they may not be able to grow enough to make a noticeable impact on the world.
Moreover, women themselves may have limitations preventing them from achieving this. Pew Research, for instance, reports that 18% of survey respondents believe there are fewer women in top elective offices because of family responsibilities.
Finally, as journalist Elisabeth Eaves observes, “Power attracts people who like power, and they share certain qualities with one another regardless of gender.” The world can only be changed for the better by a person—male OR female—who doesn’t fall prey to the challenges inherent in leadership positions.