Why should gender matter in politics today? Have we returned to the arguments from a century ago that women are more moral and will clean up politics? In the 2006 campaign, Pelosi argued that it might take a woman to clean out the House of Representatives, unconsciously echoing a 1912 cartoon showing a giant woman voter sweeping away corrupt politicians. What happened to all the feminists’ slogans about how there was no difference between women and men? Wasn’t it questioning just this idea that got Larry Summers into trouble?
Women can’t have it both ways. Either men and women are essentially the same, or each gender has certain strengths that the other lacks. If women are going to claim that they bring special gender-based skills to politics, men can start claiming that they, too, have particular strengths as leaders.Wouldn’t it be interesting to see that happen? There is not a male politician I can imagine brave enough to go there.