Decades ago my wife broke a glass ceiling and was the first woman at a large financial firm to reach the level of management that she did. In that position she had to attend many regional and national meetings. For years she was the only woman at the conferences. She still jokes that the biggest advantage is that she had the bathroom all to herself. That always got laughs at a party. Today it makes me think of some things that are happening in global politics.
Yesterday Theresa May became the British Prime Minister. She joins Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel as one of the two women heading arguably Europe’s two most important and powerful countries. May is largely a question mark to the world. She hasn’t really been in the international spotlight until the last week or so. Most of us neither know quite what to expect nor if she is even up to the job. She may not last long at all or end up being one of the greatest world leaders in history.
She is certainly taking the reins of power in the UK at a challenging time. While she favored staying in the European Union the Brexit forces won the referendum and she is now charged with working out the details of the exit. To complicate matters it appears public opinion may have now shifted in favor of the UK staying in the EU. That is not to mention the plethora of challenges the UK, like every other large country, is facing. You can add to that the very real possibilities that Scotland and/or Northern Ireland may want to leave the UK.
Back on the continent itself Merkel isn’t exactly sitting back relaxing. Germany is doing quite well, but is not without challenges. In recent months she has also become the de facto leader of Europe. Running a major country is certainly a full time job; add to that being the go to person when the continent faces a test and life really gets challenging.
It’s still early in the American presidential race, but if all goes as expected Hillary Clinton will become the President on the afternoon of January 20, 2017. The American President is arguably the most powerful single political leader in the world and certainly in the Western world. While other world leaders’ “plates” may be national or regional in scope; the American President’s is global in scale.
This is certainly the first time in modern history that women have collectively been so politically powerful. Political leaders occasionally gather to discuss areas of mutual concern and try to come up with solutions to the problems. Soon when they do the ladies’ room may be a bit more crowded. Judging by the few breakthroughs that have come in the Senate, (which are often brokers by the female Senators); that may speak well for the future of the planet. The last sentence, unlike my wife’s story, is in no way a joke.
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