By Stefanie Ruhs – Horizon Opinion Columnist
“I am a feminist.” When one of my instructors stated this during a class period I expected many responses, but not this one: “Wait, does that mean you are for a woman president?”
For just a second I could not believe what I had just heard. What was so outrageous about the idea of a female president? Coincidentally the following month we had a chapel on exactly that topic, followed by a discussion at lunch which drew only four students. I was surprised at the turnout since I knew that there were some voices of opposition at Hesston. I had met some of them personally.
Why exactly do people oppose women in leadership? Research and a conversations revealed several explanations. One idea was that a woman´s place is at home with children and husband, who she needs to submit to.
Religious views were a big factor too. Women don´t even lead in churches, so how would they be able to lead a country? Conservative people draw their theology from verses in Corinthians and I Timothy, which prohibit a woman from speaking in church or having authority over a man.
A student I talked to said that he personally would have a hard time taking orders from a woman, which would give him a feeling of being emasculated. Since comes from a background where men are the leaders and provide for the women, traditional gender roles are valued bottes ugg pas cher.
“I am not for the go make me a sandwich [mentality], though,” he said.
He is worried woman would give in under the stress of leading a country.
“I don´t think women are [incapable] of being president, I just think men are more capable.”
From my point of view traditional gender roles are so imbedded in American culture that it would be hard for some people to see a woman in power. Internationally, women seem to be able to share more political power, though. England, for example, had a number of queens. Angela Merkel became German chancellor in 2005. Since then she is credited for keeping a coalition between two parties intact and being able to compromise. Being the first female chancellor in German history she had to prove herself. She succeeded. Her approval has increased by 60 percent since taking office, according to BBC News.
I struggle to understand how some people can argue that women are less capable than men when other countries have had female leaders, well before America was even a country. It´s not that American women can´t do the job, it is the socialization process in American culture. There is no scientific evidence that would support the idea that women are less capable of leading then men. It is actually quite the opposite, according to a study cited in Psychology today and quoted in chapel: “. . .women are more likely than men to possess the leadership qualities that are associated with success.”
Women seem to be more likely to listen to others, encourage them to “think outside the box” and generally seem to make more ethical decisions. This leads to the prediction that “in the future women leaders will dominate, simply because they are better suited to 21st century leadership/management than are men.”
But the problem here is that we live in a culture that teaches men that it is emasculating to take orders from a woman. The problem is a culture that allows little girls to think that their main purpose in life is to please men. The problem is a culture that sees women as decoration, something that is breakable, something that can´t lead, or will be destructive in leadership.
We can reverse this idea by encouraging women to take leadership, to support each other, and to voice concern when women are underestimated, undervalued, and overlooked.