Of course, women can lead

So, some guy on a recurring podcast is telling us women should not lead and it is a sign of weakness when they do? Really? I heard a Republican legislator say something similar about not being able to be masculine in this country. Really?

If that was not ironic enough, we were watching a movie just last night made in the early 1970s, where the two male leads were chatting about it not being a man’s world anymore and we should take our country back. Does that sound familiar? It should be noted this was still at the start of the women’s movement who were protesting they are tired of not getting opportunity and equal pay.

What I find of interest is an article which appeared this week about this legislator. Its point is if this bothers you so much Mr. Legislator, then why is the most masculine acting person in the Republican party a woman? Her name is Liz Cheney and she has far more courage than the men in her party, with the exception maybe of Adam Kinzinger who was an Air Force pilot and can rival her courage. Speaking of courage, Cassidy Hutchinson and Dr. Fiona Hill also have an abundance of courage, telling the truth with threats against them.

And, the guy his MAGA fans think is so tough, who called his VP a wimp for not breaking the law, cannot bring himself to admit he lost an election. Not very manly or very adult-like is it? Plus, he is the same guy who refused to do a debate if Meghan Kelly was on the next panel as she asked him hard questions last time. We later learned that it was not the questioner, it was the fact Trump was being fed the questions by someone at Fox News before the Republican candidate debates so he could prepare. Kelly just went off his preset script.

For the women-not-being-suited-to-lead-dude, Angela Merkel was the leader of the free world for years and Jacinda Ardern had the gumption to get better gun governance passed in New Zealand after a mass shooting. Golda Meir led Israel during a very tumultuous time. Last time I checked, Nancy Pelosi is Speaker of the House for the second time. That is leadership. And, while I was not a huge fan of her politics, Margaret Thatcher was so tough, she was referred to as the “Iron Lady.”

In an oft-quoted book called “Half the sky” by Nicholas Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn, the Chinese proverb on which the title is based is “women hold up half the sky.” Any community or country that does not bear that in mind is not only being unfair to women, they are being unfair to themselves as they are competing in a world with only half their assets.

Of course, women can lead. And, they can do no worse than many of the men who have been in such roles. Often, they do better.

This is a big effing deal

The swearing in of Joe Biden as the 46th president is a huge deal. We can return to more normalcy in governance as he tries to unite us. But, let me set that aside and say the inauguration of Kamala Harris as vice-president is a big effing deal.

Seeing a woman sworn in as vice president is a long time over due for a country that touts democracy. Other democracies have preceded us with a woman being president, prime minister or chancellor. Angela Merkel, Jacinda Arden, Indira Ghandi, Golda Meir, Margaret Thatcher and Theresa May all come to mind.

Harris is not just breaking the ceiling as a woman, which is a big effing deal by itself. She is the first African-American, the first Asian-American, and part of the first multiracial couple and family to occupy the home of the vice-president. She is uniquely American, as representative of our melting pot as one can get.

But, as a man, let me attempt to address this walk-in-the-shoes moment and what it means. My wife wore pearl earrings to honor Harris’ alma mater as she watched. And, she was crying after Harris was sworn in. A man does not realize how a woman feels to be treated in an overbearing way. Or, to be condescended to. Or to be belittled. Or, to be sexually harassed or even assaulted.

Sheryl Sandberg wrote the excellent book “Lean in,” which tells women to lean into opportunity or push back. It was and is a great title in that men are very skilled at leaning in. There is a line, I think from this book, that says a man with lesser skill sets will often feel more qualified for a job than a woman with more skill sets.

Then, we must layer into Harris’ make-up the fact she is a multiracial woman of color. In an interview on CBS Sunday Morning, she noted she has been told “no” at every step of the ladder. Then, she smiled and said “I eat ‘no’ for breakfast.” That embodies Sandberg’s theme. Just think of all of the young women and young women of color she will influence going forward. Be a leader, be a scientist, be an engineer, be a doctor….don’t accept no as a reason you cannot.

This is a big effing deal. I wish her, Joe Biden and their families and staffs the greatest of success. We need them to succeed in uniting us.