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‘Madam’ President? For a change
The United States has maintained a historic psyche that has promoted male chauvinism blatantly
In the likelihood of Hillary Clinton becoming the 45th President of the oldest democracy of the world, Bill Clinton has a completely white chance (amusingly, as opposed to a ‘fair chance’) of being literally labelled the “First” gentleman of United States of America. This has its genesis in the fact that US, a 230-year-old democracy that has hypocritically taught human rights and gender equality to the rest of the world, has maintained a deafening silence on raising women to the highest ranks of power.
It must be noted that ‘universal adult suffrage’ could be assigned to American women only in 1920, that is, after the passage of the 19th Amendment to their Constitution. But that amendment, ironically, didn’t remove the discrepancy in Article II of American constitution that declares that “the executive power shall be vested in a President of the USA. He shall hold his office during the term of four years.” Using the gender anomaly, one of the Baptist Ministers, named Rev. Rusty Weller, has been conducting a petition drive in the country to ‘ban’ women from seeking ballot access to US Presidency! His basic contention – four times in Article I, Section 7, ‘President’ is referred to as a man and 20 times overall the President’s gender is specifically mentioned to as male – might be debatable, but it proves that the undercurrent psyche of male chauvinism in US is clearly constitutionally defined.
Against this, gender representation in countries that have been on the radar screen of US criticism has been illuminating. Alexandra Mikhailovna Kollontai happened to be history’s first female minister within America’s bête noire, Bolshevik Russia. Her record as people’s commissar (in 1917) and as a diplomat, was phenomenal. In 1960, Sri Lankan Sirimavo Bandathranaike became the first female Prime Minister of any country in the world. Indira Gandhi ascended to power in India in 1966, while Margaret Thatcher occupied 10, Downing Street, in 1979. In America’s nearest neighbourhood, The Dominican Republic, Eugenia Charles ascended to power in 1980. In the Israel of 1969, Golda Meir was the 4th Prime Minister to occupy office. Much before Thatcher, Meir was called an ‘Iron Lady’ (David Ben Gurion euphemistically called her “the only man in Israeli cabinet”!). While Benazir Bhutto became Pakistan’s Prime Minister in 1988, Tansu Ciller of Turkey occupied the PM’s office in 1993 taking a stand against their staunch ally US.
And so on so forth. Not that woman empowerment is singularly an issue that one can use to devastate the US, but the fact is that combined with the innumerable undemocratic vagaries being perpetrated by the US, it is quite clear that democracy, for the US, is hypocrisy. So much for democratic equality!
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