The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

The power in Europe

In a note in the New Yorker on Friday, conservative writer Andrew Sullivan points out that the two most powerful countries in Europe have women leading them, and no one cares:

Angela Merkel and Theresa May currently run their respective countries and Marine Le Pen is only the second woman in the final round of a French presidential campaign. And here’s the refreshing thing: No one seems to care much about their gender. Neither Le Pen nor May is appealing to women as some kind of gesture toward gender solidarity. And their opponents almost never mention May’s or Le Pen’s gender, either.

Perhaps the first female president of the U.S. will have to come from the right, as May, Merkel, and Le Pen do. That position scrambles the gender war in such a way that conservative women may be more likely to succeed in politics than liberal women — at least at first. (The pioneer in this, of course, was Margaret Thatcher, who was subjected to sexist criticism entirely from the left.) It’s also true that feminism in Europe is still, at the political-elite level, interested in getting past gender, rather than obsessing about it. When Le Pen loses the vote next Sunday (as seems likely), the one thing you can count on is that she won’t blame misogyny. It seems as if those who actually succeed in breaking the glass ceiling don’t actually campaign on breaking the glass ceiling. I wonder if the Democrats will one day realize that.

I wonder if we will. Because I would prefer that the first female president be one of ours. But right now, I'd say Nikki Haley is the front-runner.

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