Baracking for the ladies


Obama at a private function in Singapore recently:

“Now women, I just want you to know; you are not perfect, but what I can say pretty indisputably is that you’re better than us [men].

“I’m absolutely confident that for two years if every nation on earth was run by women, you would see a significant improvement across the board on just about everything… living standards and outcomes.

“If you look at the world and look at the problems it’s usually old people, usually old men, not getting out of the way.

“It is important for political leaders to try and remind themselves that you are there to do a job, but you are not there for life, you are not there in order to prop up your own sense of self importance or your own power.”

So said the former two-term president who defeated a much more experienced woman than self for his party’s nomination, arguably preventing her from becoming the first female president, and then defeated his opponents, preventing another much more experienced woman than self from becoming the first female vice-president.

Something that has always intrigued me about the sort of a claim made by Obama – the most basic tenet of modern feminism is that there are no significant differences between men and women* that are not socially constructed. Both sexes are by nature equal and only made unequal by nurture (including sexism, bias and discrimination). This is the rationale for arguing that women can (and should) do everything that men can. But if there are no inborn physical, physiological and mental differences between men and women then how can women be better than men, in this case as world leaders? If we’re all basically the same then why would the world ruled by women be more peaceful and prosperous than the mostly male-led reality? Pick one; both claims can’t be true.**

* apparently; as supported by science, see for example here, here, here and here.

** for the record, I’m happy with either.