Countries that currently or until recently had female heads of state include: Ireland, New Zealand, Latvia, Finland, The Philippines, Bangladesh, Mozambique, Germany, Liberia, Chile, Jamaica, and Switzerland.
[NOTE: Since this article was written, a long list of nations have elected female heads of state, including Costa Rica (where I now live). See here for more info.]
Nations with past female heads of state: India, Israel, Iceland, The Philippines, and the United Kingdom. And that's not including the multitude of Queens who have ruled nations since time immemorial.
Why is the United States missing from these lists? It is a self-evident fact that women are just as capable of leading a country as men. And yet, in the US, there is still a 'question' as to whether we are 'ready' for a woman President. A significant percentage of Americans say they would not vote for a woman for President - period. What a load of crap.
Of course, a significant percentage also say that they wouldn't vote for a black candidate, or a Mormon, or a Jew - in fact, anyone who isn't a (rich) white dude. Is there a study out there that shows a Venn Diagram of these groups? I wonder if the union of them would encompass the entire sample....
Back on subject, I have had hopes for a woman President for over twenty years - ever since Walter Mondale chose Geraldine Ferraro as his running mate in the 1984 election. In my idealistic youth, I assumed that since the barrier had been broken, that gender would no longer be a barrier to a "viable" candidacy.
Did I mention that I was idealistic?
The Mondale/Ferraro ticket got its ass kicked by the Reagan/Bush
By the way, at the same time the American electorate was putting women candidates "in their place", Margaret "Iron Lady" Thatcher was Prime Minister in the UK.
As the years passed, no woman came forward to lay claim to either of the major party nominations. All the while, women were ruling nations all around the world. But we here in America weren't "ready" for a woman President.
I got scared leading up to the filing period for the 2000 Presidential election, because there was a lot of talk (at least here in her home state of North Carolina) that Elizabeth Dole would run. For the first woman President to be 99 and 44/100ths concentrated evil would just be wrong.
Which is the perfect segue to Hillary Clinton.
There is actually a good chance that she will be the next President of the United States - an office that's been vacant for the last six and a half years. Oops, it's the occupant of that office that's vacant, not the office itself. My bad.
[NOTE: The paragraph above obliquely refers, of course, to the Most Execrable George W. Bush]
Must. Stay. On. Topic.
The first Madame President. About damn time, right? Hells yes! Senator Clinton has a commanding lead in the polls (and we know they can't be wrong - *cough* 2004 exit polls *cough*), and the MSM have already made their pronouncement.
But why, oh why does it have to be a woman who is just more of the same old same old? Beholden to corporate interests, tacking along with the prevailing winds, maintain the status quo (up with bidness, screw The People), don't upset the apple cart of profit, profit, profit!
I want to vote for a woman for President! It is so far beyond time that it's. just. sad! I just don't want my first vote for a female Presidential candidate to be for someone with whose policies I disagree.
As it stands now, the North Carolina primary will be held on 5 February 2008. This means that (unlike in recent years) the nomination will still be technically open... even though Clinton has all but been handed the sceptre and crown of the Democratic Party. So my vote - at least in the primary - has a "voice". I will not be voting for Clinton in the primary.
If, however, lightning doesn't strike and she does end up with the nomination, I will end up doing what I have too often had to do in the general election - hold my nose and cast my vote for the lesser of two evils.