“Any woman who reaches these positions [political leadership] has tried harder and been judged more harshly than any man,” – Anne Marie Goetz, New York University’s Professor at the Centre for Global Affairs.
And the recent impeachment of Brazilian President Dilma Roussef drives home Goetz’s point. According to the UK’s Telegraph, Roussef is accused of breaking fiscal laws by shifting around government funds to plug budget holes. I believe many decisions have been made by male presidents and political leaders, some worse off than our woman president, but things never went as far as they have gone in Brazil.
I could cite examples here, but my focus is on women being judged unfairly or harshly not only in the political sphere, but all the time.
Women are naturally blamed for any mishap and rarely are they remembered for the good or success. It is like mankind has declared war on the modest of the woman.
The success of the marital institution will be pegged on the man who will be deemed a good provider. When it crumbles, it is the woman who is wasteful, ungrateful or simply lacking the knowledge on how to take care of business. She is even blamed when her husband cheats as having failed to tame him. Even if it is the man wreaking havoc and pushing the woman to cheat, it will still be her to blame.
Marriage counsellors, too, do not hesitate to point fingers at a woman when arbitrating couples. Even marriage songs plead with her to persevere, but none are directed at the ‘protected’ species, the man, hence empowering him to idiocy.
Take a workplace scenario where a top boss will insist on women asserting themselves, in particular having the right qualifications if they are to make it to the top. But the same boss will not hesitate to promote her male colleagues even with the weakest of his qualification. Males are awarded undue recognition with full acknowledgement of their smallest contribution while women spend time proving themselves to an audience that cares less about their input.
Take a cheating case, be it marital or otherwise. When a woman is found cheating, trumpets are blown left, right and centre, but men are left scot-free with little or no chastisement. Why, there are even Chichewa icings to the cake that admonish women and those that orchestrate the vice in men. Even when caught red handed, crowds will jeer at the woman and in other countries, they have the so-called honour killings to punish women for disgracing their families for various atrocities.
Geotz could not have said better, but a woman tries harder everywhere, not just in politics. And the harder they do, the further the opportunities or recognition. All society lies in wait for is for that woman to err and watch her fall with a thud. What a shame.
It is time we embraced the reality of mistakes and learn how best to deal with them, be it in a man or a woman. I do not believe that all the successful men elsewhere are untainted, but have we discarded them? What would have happened to Hilary Clinton, had she been president and cheated on her husband Bill during the Monica Lewinsky saga. Some of her critics even want her to fail the elections of the basis of her husband’s escapades. Really?
For the women out there, your time will always come in spite of the huddles along the way. Everybody makes mistakes and society must never exaggerate yours. Dolly Parton sang the song; “My mistakes are no worse than yours, just because I’m a woman”. Take it from her. n