Uncovering the mystery of why the United States has never had a female president.
Okay, pop quiz! What do the following countries all have in common with one another?
Argentina, Bolivia, Canada, Chile, Finland, Germany, Guyana, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Latvia, Liberia, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Panama, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Turkey and the United Kingdom.
Give up? Okay, here it is: each of these countries has accomplished something that the United States, the world’s longest-running uninterrupted democracy has not done yet. They have elected females to their countries’ highest post. That’s right! Each of these countries, including Pakistan, one of the U.S. government’s favorite targets for accusations of human rights abuses; countries like India and Sri Lanka and Liberia, where women are still generally expected to remain 2 or 3 steps behind men; Muslim-dominated Turkey and Indonesia, and countries with historically unstable, authoritative governments like Nicaragua, the Philippines, Chile, Bolivia, Argentina and Panama have all beaten us to electing women as presidents or prime ministers of their countries.
And I must stress that these are countries that have elected female leaders in modern times. This does not include countries such as Austria, China, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Greece, Hungary, Japan, Russia, Spain and most of the Pacific Island nations that have, at some point during their histories, experienced rule under female monarchs.
What’s really impressive is that all of the aforementioned countries just became full-functioning democracies within the last 80 years. Some of them, such as Latvia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Nicaragua and Panama, have been true democracies for only 20 years or less. Why hasn’t the United States, at over 230 years old the world’s oldest consistently democratic society, had a female leader yet? There are many possible answers.
The United States is often considered the standard-bearer of democracy and freedom. But part of what makes this country so great and appealing is that we seem to be the closest to having the total package – freedom and democracy, a (sometimes) secular government, economic prosperity, a huge land-mass of natural wealth and beauty, exciting, glitzy cosmopolitan cities like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Atlanta and Miami that bustle with seemingly endless opportunity, and the world’s finest, most powerful military that stands ready to protect it all.
But, as most people know but very few will admit, the United States has one of the worse records of human and civil rights abuses in the world and, in many ways, continues to be one of the most repressive societies.