A case for female leadership

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Please stick with me through some numbers today, just so we can get to a pretty important thought.

Fair enough?

I don’t make you suffer through math class very often, so let’s see if we can draw a serious conclusion today.

First, here’s the big takeaway...

It’s simply a fact that women in America have been underrepresented in positions of true political power.

We are one of the rare nations that has never had a woman lead the government — and Hillary Clinton was the first ever nominated by a major party.

Think Theresa May in Great Britain or Germany’s Angela Merkel, women who wield true power on the world stage.

In fact, a huge majority of nations have had female heads of state at one time or another — including nuclear powers Israel, India and Pakistan, plus the largest Muslim country on Earth, Indonesia.

Back home, on the other hand, we’ve not only left women almost completely out of any reckoning for leading the country, we’ve struggled just to get our majority gender into the governing picture at all.

Despite the fact that women comprise 51 percent of the population, there are just 22 female members out of 100 in the U.S. Senate (which is a record high) and only 84 of 432 are seated in the House.

And Idaho?

Well, we have an unusual record when it comes to elevating women into key political offices.

For instance, Idaho has never sent a woman to the U.S. Senate, nor elected a woman governor.

The last female Idahoan to serve in the House of Representatives stepped down in 2000.

On the other hand, though, we have a comparatively high percentage (30 percent) of women in the Idaho Legislature — a surprising number for an overwhelmingly Republican state.

The only states won by President Trump that have a slightly higher female legislative percentage than Idaho are Arizona and Minnesota — both now considered true swing states.

SO IDAHO deserves decent marks for getting women into the statehouse, but closer to home...

Things aren’t quite as even.

Only one member of Kootenai County’s nine-person delegation in Boise is a woman: Sen. Mary Souza, R-Coeur d’Alene.

Meanwhile, the other four districts in North Idaho currently boast truly equal representation — six women among 12 seats — and each of those districts has at least one woman in the Legislature.

Admirable.

Right, now that we’ve waded through our math homework, is there something to be learned from all these numbers?

I think so.

Look, what have men in power accomplished that’s so terrific?

Lots of testosterone that probably helped start plenty of wars, endless arguments that lead to ugly divisiveness, bullying, hard-headedness and — in our latest presidential election — childish remarks about hand size.

I’ll concede that these indictments of male power figures are very subjective, and certainly don’t include every key historical figure of my own gender.

And yet...

There are numerous psychologists and political scientists who believe that women are a more thoughtful, empathetic and slower-to-anger sex — perhaps, some argue, because of the so-called “motherhood gene.”

I’m no expert at any scientific theories, but I do honestly believe that women deserve an equal number of seats at the table of authority.

Also, that they’d be less likely to blow up the planet.

•••

Steve Cameron is a columnist for The Press.

Email: scameron@cdapress.com.

Facebook: BrandNewDayCDAPress.

Twitter: @BrandNewDayCDA

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