EDITORIAL: Of course, a woman can lead effectively

In 1956 the iconic Caribbean-American entertainer Harry Belafonte released the song “Man Smart, Woman Smarter”. The popular song sparked a debate wherever it was heard as to who was the smarter of the genders. But, long before Belafonte released that song, it was stereotypical that women were considered less smarter and weaker than men. Why? This isn’t really known, when, as Belafonte pointed out, Eve outsmarted Adam, and Delilah outsmarted Sampson. And, really, how can woman be considered weaker than men, when they carry a child for nine months, bears that child in agonizing pain, when most men cannot tolerate even a normal headache?

But, the debate continues.

Signs of inequality prevails

It’s 2019, and there are signs women are still not considered equal to men. They’re paid less than men; they’re not given equal roles with men in several workplaces; they are considered not strong enough for certain jobs, including being the American president.

Are women feared by men?

Woman usually explain the reason for their marginalization as being feared by men. Maybe this is true. Belafonte pointed out in his popular calypso that Methuselah who lived 900 years without a woman, died soon after “having fun” with a woman.

Does this explanation apply to the field of politics, where women are often subject to harsher criticism than their male colleagues?

Five female Democratic candidates

So far this year, a record five women in the Democratic Party have announced their candidacy for the 2020 presidential elections. Immediately that these women, including Caribbean American US Senator Kamala Harris, and Senator Elizabeth Warren, made their announcements they attracted unusual criticism

Harris is being relentlessly criticized for “not being black enough;” for her joint Jamaican-Indian roots; the manner in which she laughs, and more recently for admitting she previously smoked marijuana and actually inhaled.

Warren is being criticized for having indicated she was the descendant of an American Indian tribe; and even by some as not “attractive enough” to be president.

Last week the governor of Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer, was criticized for wearing “too tight” a dress when she delivered her State of the State address in Michigan.

And, then there’s young Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes from New York, the youngest US Congresswoman, She has been publicly  criticized for her style of dress, her personal financial challenges, and as a ‘socialist’ because standing up for low-income constituents.

Americans seem unprepared for a woman leader

From the barrage of unusual criticism women politicians are subject to, it does appear most Americans unlike the citizens of countries like Germany, England, India, Jamaica, Dominica, Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados, are not prepared for, or are weary of, being led by a woman.

In reflection, there seems to be validity in claims that one of the primary reasons Democrat Hillary Clinton, a more than capable candidate, lost the 2016 presidential elections was because large numbers of male voters refused to vote for a woman

Women continue to excel

But, to their credit, American women remain undaunted. Despite the open criticism, women have excelled, and continue to excel in American politics. At age-79 Nancy Pelosi is one of the most capable individuals to hold the position of Speaker of the US House. And there’s no denying she outsmarted President Trump, in the recent border wall funding dispute.

The US Congress has more women members than ever in its history, and in several states, women are governors.

But, there’s still no guarantee a woman will hold office as US president. This isn’t because there are no capable woman candidates. It’s because of the blatant prejudice against women

Democratic Party urged to be caution

The Democratic Party and its supporters are cautioned to be careful. The women entering the 2020 presidential race are very bright, articulate, and experienced women. Attempt to railroad their candidacy with asinine criticism must be stopped quickly.

American voters need the chance to judge each candidate seeking the presidency, or any elected office, on how they represent the issues that are crucial to these voters. If a woman offers sound policies to improve affordable healthcare, public and college education, the economy; institute a foreign policy that keeps America safer and stronger, and displays sound character, why shouldn’t she be seriously considered to be elected president?

This ridiculous assessment of women on different levels than male politicians must end. It’s another factor dividing America. People are expressing desperation for a change of national leadership in 2020. This change won’t occur if people refuse to give candidates with leadership potential a fair chance to present their respective platforms, because they are women.

Real change in America will not occur by clinging to racial or gender biases. Real change will occur when the candidate with the best potential to lead is given the chance to be elected.

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