I once went to a political event where a candidate made some wild claims about women in office. She said that she believes that the HIV epidemic in the 1980s, as well as a failure to invest in bed bug-proof mattress liners in her hometown, would have been solved if more women had been in power. (I am not taking this out of context or intentionally distorting what she said – I am being serious.) There’s no question that more women should hold positions of power, but let’s stop the fantastical expectations.
Women are not super heroes; they are human beings. Putting women on some odd pedestal of calm, collected thought in contrast to their hot-headed male counterparts only seeks to reinforce the same traditional gender binary that ultimately keeps women out of office in the first place.
Furthermore, the standard is just not true. Margaret Thatcher was disastrous for the United Kingdom, and initiated war in the Falkland Islands. South Korean President Park Geun-hye was removed from office following a massive amounts of corruption. Under Nikki Hayley’s leadership, the United States voted against a measure to condemn executions of gay people. I don’t think I even need to elaborate on how Sarah Palin, Carly Fiorina, or Michele Bachmann are totally unfit for public office.
I’d like to see a day where women are represented in government roughly proportionate to the general population. Women, as well as people with non-binary gender identities, bring different perspectives to positions of power than their (cis-gender) male counterparts could possess. I just don’t think a part of supporting women in politics should involve impossibly high standards of efficacy or morality.