Wednesday, 12 August 2020

Women in Power

    Roaring back from the recent 3,500 years of male-dominated rule after over at least 200,000 

years of Sun Goddesses, women have struggled and won a new era of equality over the previous 

one that started about 5,000 years ago in the temple of the Queen of Heaven in Erech, Iraq, with 

the invention of writing that greatly assisted the proliferation of thinkers, a fair share of whom 

were probably women and the growth of religions like Judaism, Christianity, and Islam that 

demoted women to inferior roles. Men seized the opportunity to create Yahweh (Jehovah) and 

have him order in the Old Testament the expulsion of all other religions. There is no goddess 

word in the old bible.

    Artifacts dating back up to 40,000 years ago reveal widespread worship of a female creator 

who arrived in a burst of energy along with the cosmos. She goes by different names in different 

cultures including Ashtoreth, Isis, Mama, Thesis, A’akuluujjusi (Inuit), Sedna, Nammu, Gaea, 

Amana, and many others.

    About 12,000 years ago groups of women throughout the Fertile Crescent introduced 

sedentary agriculture to male mobile hunting and gathering. Settlement around temples to 

goddesses grew. This increased the status of women but men also when the settlements had to be 

defended.The fate of women has been associated with the invention of writing that occurred 

independently in:  Mesopotamia 5,400, Egypt 5,259, China 4,000, and Mesoamerica 2,650 years 

ago.

    Since 1918, women have been chosen head of state in 89 democracies. When we add re-

elections the total comes to 188 terms. The United States is yet to join this club.

To be eligible to run for president in the United States a candidate must raise $5,000 in each of 

over 20 states ($100,000). But this is only the beginning of the cost obstacle.

A great deal of faith in US politics has been lost, so there was hope that a large infusion of female 

politicians would reverse the trend. Even though Hillary Clinton won 2.1% more of the vote in 

2016 she lost to Donald Trump by electoral college inputs. Clinton spent $768 million 

on  her campaign, Trump $440 million. Voter turnout was 26th among 35 democracies studied,  

Only 19  countries are rated as full democracies, led by Norway, Iceland, Sweden, New Zealand, 

Finland, Ireland, Denmark, Canada, Australia. In this study the USA ranks 25th.

A list of the world’s 50 most powerful women includes USA 28, UK 4, China 2, France 2, 

Germany 2 and 1 each from Australia, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, India, New Zealand, Norway, 

Singapore, Spain, Taiwan. The 2020 federal election cycle in the United States started out with 

presidential candidates that totalled 6 men (Berni Sanders, Michael Bloomberg, Pete Buttigieg, 

Tom Steyer, Deval Patrick, Michael Bennet, and Andrew Yang) and 7 women (Elizabeth Warren, 

Kamala Harris, Marianne Williamson, Kristen Gillibrand, Rita Krichevsky, Amy Klobuchar, Tulsi 

Gabbard).

    Now, for the November election we face a deluge of dropouts, leaving us with only with the 

encumbents, Donald Trump and Michael Pence. competing with Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. 

And there is that lone Libetarian hopeful, Dr. Jo Jorgensen, still fighting for those few more votes 

to qualify for the debates. Jo opposes Trump’s border wall and immigration restrictions, arguing a 

blend of cultures is beneficial. She would allow workers to replace Social Security with a 6.2% 

payroll tax to invest in their preferred plans, reduce the high incarceration rate, and the 

militarization of police, support nuclear energy and free trade, eliminate foreign aid, sanctions, US 

participation in foreign wars. Among the many biases is the one that argues a woman can never 

get enough votes to be elected president Charlotte Whitten was top student at Queen’s University, 

Kingston, where she earned her MA as well as being the star of their hockey team and the fastest 

skater in the league. She was also  the first female editor of Queen’s Journal newspaper. She was 

voted in as Ottawa’s mayor for  two terms, 1951-56 and 1961-64. She was noted for her wit and 

her assertation “Whatever women do they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as 

good. Luckily this is not difficult.”The exalted role of women hit a rough road with the advent of 

writing and Christianity. The Bible describes 35 false female gods. One of these is Brigid, 

goddess of the Gaels including the Tuatha De Danann of Ireland, now replaced by Saint Patrick. 

A sampling of powerful women;


Queen Boudica in 60 AD inherited her father’s Celtic Iceni kingdom in eastern England during the 

Roman takeover. Boudica was flogged, her daughters raped, and her country annexed. She 

organized a revolt of the Iceni, Trinovantes, and others, destroying Colchester built for retired 

Romans, defeating the 9th Legion and burning Londinium and Verulamium (Hertfordshire, the 3rd 

largest city in Roman Britain) killing about 75,000. Nero considered leaving Britain but 

the  Romans regrouped and were about to defeat Boudica when she committed suicide, later 

becoming a British legend.


Eleanor of Aquitaine, 1122-1204, one of the wealthiest and sought after woman in western Europe 

when she inherited Aquitaine. She married King Louis VII of France and participated in the 2nd 

Crusade. He got an annulment from Pope Eugene III after she produced two daughters and no 

sons. In 1152 she married the Duke of Normandy who became King Henry II of England. In 13 

years she bore him 3 daughters and 5 sons, 3 of whom became kings. He imprisoned her in 1173 

for helping their son Henry’s revolt and was not released until 1189 when he died.


Marie Curie, 1857-1934, born Maria Sklodowska in Warsaw, Poland, then part of the Russian 

empire, became a French physicist and chemist. Wanting to obtain part of her education in Poland 

she applied to a Polish university but was rejected being a woman. She was the first woman to win 

a Nobel prize, sharing it with her husband, Pierre Curie, in 1903. In 1911 she became the only 

woman to earn a second Nobel prize. She was the first woman professor at the University of Paris.


Nazi female guards. Of the 37,000 Nazi guards who participated in the sufferings of prisoners 

10% were women, some just as cruel as the men, yet a few female guards did share their food 

with starving prisoners, enough to warrant a warning order being sent to female guards who did 

have total power over their prisoners. A total of 189 men and 10 women were hanged for war 

crimes by the British


Isle Koch, 1906-1957. was the wife of Karl Otto Koch , commandant of the Buchenwald 

concentration camp 1937-1941. He was transferred to Lublin to help establish the Majdanek 

extermination camp. Isle remained at Buchenwald. In 1943 Karl and Isle were arrested by the SS 

for embezzlement, private enrichment, and murdering prisoners who could provide evidence. Karl 

was executed in April 1945. Isle was released to her family. Known as the Beast of Buchenwald 

due  to her cruelties towards prisoners, she was tried by the U.S. military in 1947. Her most 

published  crimes were selecting prisoners with interesting tatoos to be murdered and skinned then 

having their skins made into lampshades.


Irma Grese, 1923-1945, was a beautiful, intelligent, and timid teenager who joined the Hitler 

Youth, earning rapid promotions. Known as the Beast of Belsen she whipped female prisoners 

until they collapsed then trampled them. She selected prisoners to be sent to the gas chambers. She 

was hanged at age 22.


Antonina Parfenova, a Russian living in a German-occupied portion of Russia, swore allegiance to 

the Nazis for better treatment. She was given a machine gun to kill over 1,500 imprisoned 

Russians. A post-war search for her took 30 years. She was executed in 1979.


Golda Meir, 1898-1978, born Mabovitch in Kiev her family emigrated in 1906 to the USA where 

she became a teacher, She and her husband emigrated to a kitbbutz in Palestine in 1921. In 1928 

she was elected secretary of the Working Women’s Council which had her spend 2 years in the 

USA, returning in 1934. She joined the Histadrut, advancing to being head of the political 

department.Prior to 14 May 1948 when Israel was declared a state Meir went to the USA to raise 

$50 million to buy the weapons that permitted Israel to defeat the attacks from Arab nations. 

Entering politics she served as Minister of Labour and Foreign Minister, then in 1969 was elected 

Prime Minister, the world’s fourth and Israel’s first and only female PM.

In one list of the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women, the top five rare:


1. Angela Merkel has been described as leader of the free world. Born Kashner in Hamburg, 

Germany, in 1954, her family moved to East Germany where she earned a PhD in quantu

chemistry in 1986 and worked in research until entering politics in 1989. Germany was reunited 

1990. In 2005 she was appointed the first female Chancellor. She was elected for a 4th term in 

2018. In office she did reduce unemployment, did away with conscription, tried to build a Multi-

culture nation, which did not work the way she wanted so she encouraged immigrants to accept 

German values. She has been a world leader in fighting climate changes. She accepted over 1

million refugees into Germany. As only 5 of 16 state level boards are headed by women she hopes 

to remedy thisMerkel describes the Coronaviris as the biggest threat Germany has ever 

experienced. She has won international plaudits for her handling of it as she has for the German 

penal system that features rehabilitation. Police recruits are required to spend two and a half to 

four years in basic training to become an officer, with the option to pursue the equivalent of a 

bachelor’s or master’s degree in policing. Basic training in the U.S. by comparison, can take as 

little as 21 weeks or 33.5 weeks, with field training.


2. Christine Lagarde, born Lallouette in 1956 in Paris Educated in France and the USA on a 

scholarship, she held several senior governmental positions, 2005-2011. In 2009 she was the first 

woman to become a finance minister of a G8 country. The Financial Times rated her as the best 

finance officer in Europe. She was chairman of the International Monetary Fund before becoming 

president of the European Central Bank in November 2019.


3. Nancy Pelosi, born D’Alesandro in 1940, ranks 3rd. As a U.S Democrat and on her second tour 

as Speaker of the House of Representatives she is the only woman to hold this post which 

also puts her second in line after the vice president for the presidency. She was a major opponent 

of the Iraq War.


4. Ursula von der Leyen, born Albrecht in Brussels in 1968, to German parents moving to 

Hanover in 1971. She has served in the German government since the late 1990’s, first 

locally then federal. She is the longest member of Merkel’ cabinet. She has been Minister of 

Family Affairs and Youth, 2005-2009, Labour and Social Affairs, 2009-2013, Defence, 2013-2019.

She lived in Stanford, California, for 4 years while her husband was on the faculty of the 

university there.


5. Mary Barra, born Makela in 1961 in Royal Oak, Michigan, she has been General Motors’ CEO 

since 2013. She is the first woman to be CEO of a major auto maker. Her salary last year was 

$21.87 million. She is of Finnish descent.


20. Oprah Winfrey: Oprah ranks 20th in Forbes list but #1 on others. She was born in poverty in 

1954 in Mississippi to a single teenage mother. In her teens she was raped, The baby was born 

prematurely and died. Oprah was sent to Tennessee to live with Vernon Winfrey, a man she called 

her father. While in high school she found a job in radio, rising rapidly in news and talk shows, 

advancing to politics. During the 2008 election it is estimated she was worth a million votes to 

Barack Obama. Oprah is North America’s first Black multi billionaire and philanthropist.


Kamala Harris: On 11 Aug 2020, after interviewing 11 qualified women for the job, Joe Biden 

chose Kamala for his vice president running mate. Kamela was born in 1964 in Oakland, 

California, followed by a younger sister. Maya. Her mother, Shyamala Gopalan, had immigrated 

from India in 1960 to complete a PhD in endocrinology. She married Donald Harris, a professor 

of economics who had emigrated from Jamaica. They moved to Montreal when Shyamala got 

teaching job at McGill University. Kamala was a popular student at nearby Westmount High 

School, graduating in 1981. Her parents had divorced in 1975.Kamela went on to obtain 2 degrees 

from Howard University in Washington then a Juris Doctor from the University of California in 

San Francisco. She earned admission to the State Bar of California in 1990. She was employed as 

deputy district attorney. In 2003 she was elected to be California’s first African-American 

district attorney.There are several organizations that compile these lists and they all differ which 

means we have an increasing number of women reaching the influential stage and that we actually 

are on our way to a bias-free world. Even in Iran and Saudi Arabia we are seeing improvements. 

When we do achieve 0ne-Species-but two-Equal-Sexes mentality, we men hope that revenge will 

be outdated.




Ye Olde Scribe











1 comment:

  1. Although a brief hold of power, the women pilots of the WASPs and the ATA showed they had the "right stuff" during the Second World War

    ReplyDelete