Like all of you, I have been watching in horror and disbelief the unconscionable war in Ukraine. I have my Master’s degree in Russian history, did I ever mention that? Anyone who has studied Russian history might contend that this war was inevitable.
For centuries, Russian tsars and leaders have annexed territories, withdrawn freedoms, broadcast propaganda, and imposed their will in the name of Russian nationalism, for the greater good of “mother Russia”. When Gorbachev ushered in the era of glasnost, for many Russians, it was seen as a sign of weakness.
On Tuesday, I’ll be participating in some International Women’s Day events, and this past week, I can’t help thinking that if only we elected women rulers, we’d have a better chance at peace.
History is replete with male dictators: Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan, Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Uganda’s Idi Amin.
And then you only have to look at the modern-day roster of dictators: Omar Al-Bashir of Sudan who has been accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity for tragedies in Darfur, Kim Jong-II of North Korea, Muammar al-Quaddafi of Libya, and Vladimir Putin.
There have been a handful of cruel women monarchs and leaders throughout history. The religious crusades against Protestants of Queen Mary of England in the 1500’s earned her the nickname Bloody Mary. Madame Mao persecuted her enemies to further the Cultural Revolution of communist China in the early 1900s. But there are very few examples of modern female leaders who have committed atrocities, started wars or committed crimes against humanity.
In this Forbes article, If Women are Better Leaders, Then Why Are They Not in Charge?, scientific studies have consistently shown that on most of the key traits that make leaders more effective, women tend to outperform men. For example, humility, self-awareness, self-control, moral sensitivity, social skills, emotional intelligence, kindness, a prosocial and moral orientation, are all more likely to be found in women than men.
Further, “men score higher than women on dark side personality traits, such as aggression (especially unprovoked), narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism, which account for much of the toxic and destructive behaviours displayed by powerful men who derail”.
This week’s #HappyAct is to elect a woman the next time you go to the polls and pray for the people of Ukraine, and all of Europe.