Women vying for non-traditional leadership roles come under the worst kind of scrutiny and attack upon their character. Religion and Politics are two such non-traditional areas where women have received and still receive a lot of public battering for their audacity.
Over the past 3 or so years, I’ve noticed the same trends in different countries with women wading into the murky waters of political office. Especially those who have the gall to offer themselves for Presidency or Prime Minister.
Last week Sunday my attention was once more grabbed by yet another woman in representational politics. Balbina Herrera who won her party campaign as the Presidential candidate, will represent Panama’s governing Revolutionary Democratic Party (Partido Revolucionario Democrático/PRD) in the upcoming elections of 2009. Her bashing, though not unlike the women in the US 2008 presidential elections, is in many ways closer to that of Portia Simpson-Miller in Jamaica.
Balbina is widely known as a ‘street-fighter’ and a ‘professional politician’. She is most remembered for her time in the party when Manuel Noriega was the dictator in power. Before her bid for the presidency of Panama, Balbina served as Panama’s Minister of Housing. In that position she captured a lot more mass appeal as the ordinary poor and working class Panamanians deem her a success.
The intellectual elites, business/merchant class, and conservative foreigners and retirees living in Panama find her to be one scary woman. Don Winner of Panama-Guide described Balbina’s opponent whom she beat last Sunday saying that-
Juan Carlos Navarro is US educated, right wing, evangelical, pro business, and a white male – Balbina Herrera is seen as representing all of the old negative baggage of the PRD. She is obviously popular among the PRD faithful, but can she pull off a national election?
By saying what Navarro is, Winner has already told us what Balbina is not. And we already know she is not male! So in Panama, as in Jamaica, and in the United States of America – not a single ‘right woman’ has come forward to offer themselves as presidential/prime ministerial candidates. What’s really going on?
From what the critics are saying, the women who are offering themselves are the wrong kind of women. See my comparative look at 3 other women who fit the bill of Wrong Women For 2008 Political Leadership Quests.
Balbina like the other women in that article does not fit the profile. And like them they all bear striking similarities:-
All these women are reputed to be “tough” and this usually implies that they are not very feminine. They are not behaving as women are supposed to behave.
Their intellect is questioned – Now especially in the case of the US. That is the funniest thing ever. There is no record in US History to show that they have only elected intellectually gifted men. Isn’t that funny!
They are victims of Psychological tactics. The ‘female’ thing is played up to appeal to women, while at the same time pointing out the candidate’s ‘flaws’ to get women antagonistic against each other. This age old ploy works every time.
So now we’ll need to construct the image/profile of the right woman so that we can go in search of her.
Got any ideas to share?