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Who runs the world?

Posted by
05 Oct 2016

Back in July, Hilary Clinton made history when she was officially nominated as the Democratic candidate for presidency, becoming the first woman from either party to achieve this. In her acceptance speech, Clinton said “I can’t believe we just put the biggest crack in that glass ceiling yet” having previously described this as the “highest, hardest glass ceiling”. The glass ceiling metaphor has been a theme running through Hilary’s candidacy for a number of years, but now that she has broken the glass ceiling, does she now stand on the edge of a glass cliff?

The glass cliff refers to a phenomenon in which female business and political leaders are more likely than to be appointed to top roles in times of crisis or down turn. Although economically speaking America is in a better position than it was in 2008 elections, many Americans do believe the county is still in a crisis.

Closer to home, Theresa May is undeniably standing on the edge of a glass cliff after being appointed Prime Minister following the UK‘s decision to leave the European Union. She has the unenviable task of implementing Brexit which is an unprecedented and thankless task that almost half the county voted against, including herself. However, Margaret Thatcher was elected as Britain’s first female Prime Minister in 1979 following the worst industrial unrest in 50 years, but then remained in power for an additional 11 years. Love her or loathe her, she is arguably Britain’s most influential post-war prime minister.

Gender was a key factor in Thatcher’s election, as she portrayed herself as the nation’s housewife ready to organise the country’s finances. Even within Hilary Clinton’s campaign, gender is playing crucial role in the presidential election campaign. Hilary’s opponent Trump has said that “The only thing she’s got is the woman’s card, and that without that she wouldn’t get 5% of the votes”. Her campaign team responded cleverly with the production of bright pink Woman Card’s for her supporters and to raise donations. 

But should gender be such a key issue? Barak Obama said she is the best person man or woman for the job. Following on from her winning her twenty-second Grand Slam title, when asked if she is "one of the greatest female athletes of all time" Serene a Williams replied: "I prefer the word one of the greatest athletes of all time”. Williams has long fought sexism in her sport and this comment was widely praised.

If Hilary wins the presidency in November, women will helm the world’s top three Western economies, and I personally hope that we would finally see chips start to fall from the glass cliff.

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