That appeared to be the theme of former President Bill Clinton’s opening discussion for the Clinton Global Initiative’s 2013 Annual Meeting. The 42nd president of the United States moderated a discussion in which participants took several opportunities to bash widespread male authority and drop not-so-subtle hints that his wife should run for the White House in 2016.
Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg was the first to lament the way in which males tend to dominate culture, while commending Hillary Clinton’s effort to curb it.
“No one has done more than your wife Hillary. […] Our stereotypes of women are that they will be communal, they will get married, they will give to others. We actively discourage leadership in girls. In English we call our daughters ‘bossy.’[…] We teach ourselves at a very young age that men should lead and women shouldn't."
Considering Sandberg's own success, I'm surprised she is so quick to criticize our country's "male dominated" culture and suggest that women have an insurmountable climb when trying to rise through the ranks. Clinton then asked, “What is the relationship between women facing challenges in developed nations versus developing nations?” Instead of focusing on the strides women have made in America, Sandberg still insisted on treating women like victims.
"There’s not equality anywhere.[...] Look at the wage gap in the United States.[...]No progress – the gap has remained the same for ten years. What's similar all over the world [...]men have more options. It needs to change in order to solve these problems.”
The “wage gap” Sandberg referred to is the claim that women earn 77 cents for every dollar men earn. Like so many of today’s feminists who like to wave that statistic around, the panelists fail to mention the context. Freedomworks explained the reason for this discrepancy.
Men and women tend to be interested in different career choices. More women than men are enrolled in college and all of them are free to major in whatever they please. Men are more likely to major in engineering, mathematics, and computer science in college. These overwhelmingly male-dominated majors are highly profitable. Conversely, the top college majors for women are education, English, and psychology. Women tend to be interested in the social sciences which normally pay less money.
The real discrimination against women perhaps occurred when President Clinton suggested the only times women have been able to rise to power is in the midst of crises.
“It is no accident that the first country in the world to have a majority of its Parliament is Rwanda because 85 percent of the victims of genocide were men. We don’t need a cataclysm like that, but it’s very interesting. No one can look at numbers and not see that there is a connection between opportunities afforded to women and demographics.”
Clinton mentioned the purges in China also led to gender change in certain occupation groups. So, according to his wisdom, the “opportunities” women need are disasters. As a young woman, I reject the notion that my gender can only rise to power when a natural disaster strikes or a war breaks out. How is this kind of discussion empowering?
Instead of challenging what the female panelists were saying about their sex, the male panelists Mo Ibrahim of the Mo Ibrahim Foundatin, and U2’s Bono nodded right along. Kharami even added,
“It’s a universal problem, it’s not just us. Even here, this country is still waiting for its first female president.”
Lagarde had the last word.
“70-80 percent of consumption is effectively decided by women. Women can actually change the world.”
I guess our Founding Fathers were just symbols of power-hungry patriarchy.
Instead of focusing on the imaginary glass ceiling, let’s celebrate the strides women have made – especially here in America.