When posting on FaceBook during this stressful year I often mention the importance of empowering women if we want to move human history into a better future. The response I get overwhelmingly, especially from otherwise well-meaning men FB friends, is that women do or would govern as good as or as bad as men. The implication of this view of course is that empowering women would make no difference. That getting to a better future depends on other things, things that men can/could do equally well. This is NOT CORRECT. It is an underlying paradigm that influences and undergirds all patriarchies. It is a deeply entrenched assumption/view/belief/paradigm that will forever hold back major improvement if it is not eventually abandoned. Women WOULD bring a different perspective and approach to governing. That is the subject of my book War and Sex and Human Destiny, the full text of which is on this website.
Nations that cling to the view that subjugating women or restricting women to only the domestic sphere of our lives will remain patriarchies indefinitely. They will share many of the worse characteristic of patriarchies, arguably the worst of which is war. But there is also slavery, human trafficking, barbaric policing and other ills that the Enlightenment and the introduction of the concept of human rights introduced. Patriarchies around the globe are threatened, and even in liberal democracies, authoritarian patriarchs are fighting to retain control not only of nations but of human history.
Here's a post I put on my FaceBook wall today:
"The world we see around us, the world we have created thus far for better or worse, is a product of patriarchy for millennia. So that there is no misunderstanding, when I say in any of my posts that the empowerment of women is critical to the survival of the idea of liberal democracy as opposed to the continuation of patriarchy (patriarchies being defined as fundamentally all-male governing) I don’t mean just having a woman as the head of government. Or even a few women in a nation’s legislative body.
The exact percentage of women in leadership that can change the nature of a country so it switches from being patriarchal in character to something else is not an exact number. Studies indicate that for example when a governing body reaches somewhere between 25 and 35% women its orientations and decision choices begin to reflect a more female perspective (e.g. greater concern for community good and children’s well-being than concern for power and control).
In a fully mature liberal democracy, women would be sharing in governing at approximately a 50-50 ratio at all levels, local state and national. Furthermore, in a fully mature liberal democracy all racial and ethnic groups in the society would be sharing in governing.
Historically the world community has been slowly moving over the past several hundred years toward becoming more democratic, even liberal democratic, but I don’t think we yet have any fully mature liberal democracies. The Nordic countries and Iceland come close, although they do not have to deal with huge racial and religious differences. It’s those differences that make the United States experiment in democracy so unique and also such a challenge.
At this time patriarchal interests on the far right around the globe appear to be making a last ditch attempt to retain patriarchal control and orientation toward life and the environment in many of even the most developed liberal democracies. Trumpism is just the most frightening example because he is the leader of one of the richest and most influential democracies in the world. It will be a great triumph for liberal democracy if he is removed from office in a landslide. And a great tragedy if he is not.'
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Dr. Judith Hand writes historical fiction, contemporary action/adventure, and screenplays. Hand earned her Ph.D. in biology from UCLA. Her studies included animal behavior and primatology. After completing a Smithsonian Post-doctoral Fellowship at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., she returned to UCLA as a research associate and lecturer. Her undergraduate major was in cultural anthropology. She worked as a technician in neurophysiology laboratories at UCLA and the Max Planck Institute, in Munich, Germany. As a student of animal communication, she has written scientific papers on the subject of social conflict resolution.
Astronomy image credit: NASA: Full Hemisphere Views of Earth at Night.