I recently had the pleasure of overhearing a discussion on the current state of the world. This discussion took place prior to Le Pen’s defeat in the French election. One of the participants expressed that the world would be in a much better place if women were in charge. She was obviously upset at Trump and his policies in addition to Brexit and similar movements around the world. Claiming a substantial difference between how men and women approach governance and political outcomes is not a new line of thought. Feminists and others on the left have been obsessed about the gender of political leaders and participants for a long time. Myself, I care about the results and what the actual policies entail. I couldn’t care less about what a politician has between his/her legs. Statism is statism and freedom is freedom no matter the characteristics of its proponent.
The expression of this sexist sentiment in the overheard discussion got my synapses firing. A part of this sentiment is that women don’t go to war. It could also be expressed as women being significantly less militaristic than men. This is a problematic sentiment. By making this argument you’re simultaneously making the case against having a female head of state. Your nation would become victimized by stronger neighbours if you had a known reputation as a conflict avoider. Your opponents would walk all over you. Such a sexist sentiment is a perfect argument against Hillary Clinton or similar politicians becoming leaders. I happen to believe that the sentiment is wrong. Female leaders can be just as bloodthirsty as men. One advantage they have is that they don’t have to send their fellow “sisters” off to die, they get to send mainly men.
This line of thinking is amplified significantly in nuclear armed countries. It is essential for the functioning of the nuclear deterrent for the leader to be willing to use it should the time come. Having a conflict avoidant and “peacenik” female as head of state in a escalating conflict with nuclear overtones is not a desirable position to be in. It is simply put an existential threat to national survival. We can thus see that such sexist sentiments can be self-defeating. Rather than favouring female leadership, they make a convincing argument against. Taken to its logical conclusion this could be applied to other professions. What about surgeons? A good surgeon should only be concerned with doing what is medically necessary, not be squeamish about using a knife to cut into someone. Perhaps there are implications for female business executives as well? You want your top dogs to play hardball in negotiations, not necessarily looking for flowery outcomes everyone is going to be happy about.