Sunday 21 July 2019

Louise Kelly: We may come from a different planet – but that doesn’t mean we can’t run the world

Interestingly enough, the latest debate on the gender power struggle is between two women.

Michaela Strachan
Michaela Strachan
Irish State Pathologist Dr Marie Cassidy
German Chancellor Angela Merkel
Michelle Obama
IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde
Janet Yellen will run the world's most influential central bank
Beyonce Knowles-Carter at the Sound of Change Live concert

Apparently British presenter Michaela Strachan is a graduate of the ‘Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus’ school of teaching as believes men and women are ‘wired differently’.

Which wouldn’t be so bad when it comes to figuring out why men leave the toilet seat up – but it’s a bit of a anti-progressive statement to make when she uses her theory to explain why men are more likely to be experts in their field.

“Far more women run orphanages and rehabilitation centres because we’re probably better at it,” the 47-year-old Autumnwatch presenter told the Daily Mail, adding that she was “not anywhere near as knowledgeable” as her co-star Chris Packham on wildlife.

Good for the softer stuff – being at one with their feelings and all that – women are far more likely to be involved in areas that deal with ‘emotions’, she said. Which no doubt completely validates her role on the show.

Thankfully, on this side of the water, State forensic pathologist Marie Cassidy has the back of the ‘fairer sex’. Yes, their temperament may be different than their male counterparts, she recognises, but this helps them become completely ingrained and focussed on what they put their mind to – especially in her line of work.

Females are very good at forensic pathology," she told Miriam O'Callaghan on RTE Radio 1 last week. "I think they have an aptitude for it and we're trying to, in Ireland, take as many women in and they're fabulous,” she said.

Which we are. We are fabulous. We don’t need to put men down nor belittle ourselves to fit into a mould in society. And we certainly don’t need a woman making statements like this, considering we still get enough flak in the climb to success as it is. 

As IMF chief Christine Lagarde recently complained, some men still talk to her in patronising tones despite her powerful position in the financial world. But the French woman remains strong in the face of condescension. "The best defence when that happens is a very good and solid sense of humour,” she said. "Just grit your teeth and smile".

And if you are still in any doubt on where I stand on the topic, I’ve built a little list to show just how well the ‘emotional’ breed have fared in the world. These women are shaping the world as we know it.

1. Angel Merkel Bit of a Marmite one for those across the world but those that despise this influential powerhouse will no doubt have to grudgingly respect her. The German Chancellor currently carries the weight of the euro on her shoulders – and she makes it look easy.

2. Michelle Obama In some ways, the US First Lady has surpassed her hubby Obama in terms of influence – definitely in style and overall popularity anyway. Yes, she’s a bit of a figurehead in her ‘fight’ against obesity but the masses love her. 

3. Christine Lagarde The aforementioned French woman was the first female to run the 188-country financial organisation taking over from the disgraced DSK in 2011. At loggerheads at times with Ms Merkel on monetary issues, she continues to campaign for more influential women in the workplace.

4. Janet Yellen Another first – and a sign of the changing times – Yellen was recently nominated to succeed Ben Bernanke as Fed Chairman. The Brooklyn-born economist has a lot of work to do – but we’re sure she’s able for it.

5. Beyonce Knowles Love her or loath or – this 32-year-old deserves a place on the list purely for her drive alone. The mother of Baby Ivey grosses over $2m in every city she plays and has earned herself a nod from Forbes this year at #17 in the Powerful Women list

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