Hillary Clinton , Charlotte Osei and what it takes to be a WOMAN in POWER.
It’s exhausting as a woman to be in the public eye, trust me I know.
But I can imagine it’s even more draining for women who run for public office or hold executive positions.
Because they’re held to a standard many men aren’t with almost every aspect of their life put up for scrutiny and used to measure their qualifications, decision making and even how successful they will be.
This year seems to be the year of the woman, or so many gender activists think, and as good as it is to see women finally going after high positions often reserved for men, it’s been heartbreaking watching how they’ve been treated and ripped into shreds by public.
I won’t lie, somedays I wonder if it’s worth all the ammunition constantly shot at them.
Much like any oppressed group, when their oppressors decide to set them “free” , it’s hardly out of WANT or sudden realization that, “we’ve been doing all this wrong”. It’s usually because they’ve been pressurized and have released control reluctantly; and so the laws in place don’t change the reality on ground and how people feel.
And because of this reluctance to relinquish power they will adapt other methods to stay in control, which is what I believe we’re witnessing with how women in powerful positions are treated. Its almost like they’re being dared to prove that they can handle it.
It’s twice as hard for a woman to get the recognition she needs to be considered for any kind of position and in most cases the only way is by proving that she’s smarter, works harder than the average and is willing to go above and beyond.
It’s like calling for the ball in the middle of a football field with screaming fans, your “voice” has got to be really loud to be heard.
And when she finally gets the job not only does she have to worry about her qualification being challenged, her looks are also brought into play; is she attractive enough, does she dress well and appropriately, does she smile enough and is she approachable.
So instead of focusing just on their already difficult jobs, have to worry about every little thing that can be used to judge their competence.
Take for instance the most powerful women I consider in the United States and in Ghana; Hillary Clinton as a Presidential Candidate in the United States and Charlotte Osei the newly appointed Chairperson of Electoral Commision of Ghana.
These two, although continents and democracies apart, face the same challenges as women in a very male dominated position.
And this goes to show that the progression we believe we’ve made when it comes to gender equality, is still very small.
For both women they’ve been held to certain standards their male counterparts were NEVER and will probably never have to worry about being held to.
Hillary Cliton Hillary Cliton
Clinton has been accused of not showing enough much emotion,being to stiff , shouting when she talks, making poor decisions, being too tired, not having enough stamina, being too ambitious, having poor judgment, killing people and even staying with a cheating husband.
Charlotte on the other hand has been accused of being too arrogant, bossy, not smiling enough, having an affair with the president, making poor decisions, being biased and lacking the qualification to head the EC.
Notice the similarities in their accusations?
Because as a woman you in such a high profile positions, being outspoken means you’re too loud, being emotional means you lack control to take tough decisions, making tough decisions easily means you lack the natural nurturing tendencies of a woman. And it doesn’t end there, as a womn your only two options to making it to the top is by either sleeping your way there, as Charlotte Osei has been accused of or being lead there by a man; your qualification is usually the last thing regarded as a factor.
And then when you do “make it” every move you make is watched through a microscope and like a gun to your head at an examination have ensure they dot each I, cross each T and be overly cautious of the rules so they’re not failed.
Because where a man will get a pass for forgetting to put a full stop at the end of a sentence, a woman will be querried for it; because women are held to a much stricter standard than men when it comes to accountability.
Goerge Bush went to war based on an unfounded claim that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, leaving thousands of American shoulders dead; many were easy to forgive the loss of thousands of innocent lives as casualties of war. Hillary, accused of causing the death of 4 Americans at Benghazi, has been labeled a KILLER.
Let’s face it, women don’t get away with even half the things we give men a pass on.
Imagine if Clinton had been married 3 times with different “baby daddies”? If she’d been accused of grabbing a bunch of men’s private parts or if she’d been up at 3:00 am writing mean tweets? Think about it…
Now be honest you felt completely different about hearing all that about a woman than a man, the words slut, irresponsible, mean spirited, and a woman with no morals and probably menopausal went through your mind.
And like that all her qualifications went out the window.
But then you think of Trump doing alll of this and “he’s a man, it’s no big deal,its locker room talk, his personal life is different from how he runs his business, separate the man from the action, he takes care of his children, so what if he likes women,who doesn’t “.
If you don’t see the double standard here then you’re part of the problem.
How about Charlotte Osei, who’s biggest accusation is that she’s arrogant, bias and rude.
Why? Because any woman in a position of power automatically and self centered “bi**” and thinks she’s better than the rest.
Which is how she’s been portrayed from the minute to took office. She doesn’t even smile enough because she feels too big”, some have said, yet in the many years I saw Dr. Afari Gyan, former EC , in charge I can count how many times I saw him smile when it came down to serious business.
In fact he was revered for his blank stare and how very little he flinched at the noise politicians made especially around the election, which was what I think many found appealing about him.
Dr. Afari Gyan Dr. Afari Gyan
It’s with this same demeanor he read the 2008 election results, and as frustrated as many politicians felt about him, still maintained some level of respect for him.
Now imagine Charlotte Osei, walking into a room of men, with the same blank stare, reading the results and walking off when she was done with her security detail. ARROGANT BITCH, is what many would be thinking but not bold to say to her face, but they’d cowardly go online and radio to vent.
I don’t seek to exonerate these two women from all they’ve been accused of, by all means they deserve to be held accountable for their actions and inactions, but there’s an obvious and inbuilt bias with how they’re treated.
The only way women can succeed or effectively do their jobs is when people start seeing a PERSON and not a GENDER in that position.
Equality doesn’t just mean giving women the opportunities to take up leadership, it includes giving them with the same level of respect,support, and when necessary fair critique as their male counterparts.