A Sad Day For Women
Today, the most energetic, thoughtful, and well-prepared candidate dropped out of the 2020 presidential race. Her detailed plans for how she would implement her vision were superior to those of the men who are now left standing. She also had very strong debate performances and a solid organization built behind her.
But Elizabeth Warren is a woman.
Primary voters must have been concerned that a woman like Warren would not do well in the general election against Trump. I often heard variations on the following reasons given for why voters would not support her: people in the general election will see her as “too abrasive,” “too shrill,” or I even heard someone claim that “she looks silly when she talks.”
It boggles the mind, but this is exactly the same kind of criticism that women received in the 1910s when they fought for the right to vote. Women were lambasted for speaking in public — even by their supporters. Their voices were interpreted as “shrill,” boisterous,” and “loud.”
Today, the words used to describe women in performance reviews show that similar interpretations of successful women are commonplace. “She comes on too strongly,” she is “bossy”, “abrasive”, “strident”, “emotional” and “irrational.”
Also in the news today, is a new UN report that shows that nine out of ten people globally are biased against women. The report further shows that in the US, almost 40% of the population believe that men make better leaders than women.
This is a particularly sad finding, since having more women in leadership positions actually boosts the bottom line of global economies by 26% benefiting private as well as public sectors.
If we want to truly have the best person for every job, including the presidency, we have to identify the hidden biases, the silent judgments, and the toxic interpretations that keep us blind to excellent leadership potential right in front of our noses.