Thinking Citizen Blog — Liz Truss Is the Third Female UK Prime Minister

Thinking Citizen Blog — Saturday is Justice, Freedom, Law, and Values Day

Today’s Topic: UK 3, US 0 — Liz Truss Is the Third Female UK Prime Minister

Why does the US lag so many other countries in terms of never having had a female head of government? Is it the fact that the US has a presidential rather than a parliamentary system of government? Or is it that the US President is thought first and foremost as a Commander in Chief? Or is there something cultural going on? Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.

THE UNITED KINGDOM — all three female Prime Ministers have been Conservatives

1. Margaret Thatcher, 1979–1990: “the only woman elected prime minister as a consequence of a general election — in other words, chosen indirectly by the public, as opposed to emerging from an internal party contest that is a feature of the British parliamentary system.”

2.“Both May and Truss won the top job after men were effectively forced from power. The ruling Conservative Party gave the role to May after David Cameron resigned in humiliation because he lost a controversial referendum on whether the U.K. should stay in the European Union.”

3.“Truss’s coronation this week by Conservative Party grassroots members followed the resignation of the scandal-plagued, gaffe-prone Johnson in July.”

NB: The vote that brought Truss to office was of Conservative Party members only. The vote was 81,263 (Truss) to 60,399 (Sunak).

70 NATIONS HAVE BEEN LED BY WOMEN — so why not the US?

1. “Many of the earlier women’s pathways were eased because their husbands or fathers were autocratic or charismatic leaders first.”

2. “Some were chosen via parliamentary deal-making, not direct elections.”

3. “Others were tapped as temporary leaders.”

NB: “Some scholars say that European democracies may view women as more suited to high political office because their governments are known for generous social-welfare programs, something that seems maternal. In contrast, the president of the United States is primarily seen as commander in chief, which is a frame more difficult for women to fit into.” “America is still seen as the policeman of the world, the guardian of the world and we still have a very gendered version of what leadership means.” (Laura Liswood, secretary general of the United Nations Foundation’s Council of Women World Leaders)

PARLIAMENTARIANS AROUND THE WORLD — 26% women up from 11% in 1995, many countries now have quotas, the US is now at 27% up 50% from 10 years ago

1. “Only five countries have 50 per cent or more women in parliament in single or lower houses: Rwanda (61 per cent), Cuba (53 per cent), Nicaragua (51 per cent), Mexico (50 per cent) and the United Arab Emirates (50 per cent).”

2. “A further 27 countries have reached or surpassed 40 per cent, including 15 countries in Europe, five in Latin America and the Caribbean, five in Africa, one in Asia and one in the Pacific.”

3. “More than two-thirds of these countries have applied gender quotas — either legislated candidate quotas or reserved seats — opening space for women’s political participation in national parliaments.”

NB: US: “Women make up a much bigger share of congressional Democrats (38%) than Republicans (14%). Across both chambers, there are 106 Democratic women and 38 Republican women in the new Congress. Women account for 40% of House Democrats and 32% of Senate Democrats, compared with 14% of House Republicans and 16% of Senate Republicans.” Nancy Pelosi is the first female Speaker of the House. The first female member of Congress was Jeannette Rankin, a Republican from Montana, elected in 1916.

Liz Truss is the third woman to lead the UK. No woman has been elected US president. Why?

Over 70 Nations Have Been Led by Women. So Why Not the U.S.? (Published 2016)

Facts and figures: Women’s leadership and political participation

A record number of women are serving in the 117th Congress

Quote of the Month:

“The single biggest challenge in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” (William H. Whyte, author of The Organization Man” (1956)

For the last four years of posts organized by theme:

PDF with headlines — Google Drive

Two special attachments below:

#1 A graphic guide to justice (9 metaphors on one page).

#2 “39 Songs, Prayers, and Poems: the Keys to the Hearts of Seven Billion People” — Adams House Senior Common Room Presentation, 11/17/20


Please share the coolest thing you learned in the last week related to justice, freedom, the law or basic values. Or the coolest, most important thing you learned in your life related to justice, freedom, the law, or basic values. Or just some random justice-related fact that blew you away.

This is your chance to make some one’s day. Or to cement in your mind something that you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply about something dear to your heart.



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