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5 Reasons Why Women Should Be Presidents

Why women are likely to make better leaders than men

1. Men can often do well in deciding everyday matters, like buying a car or a house, but often get in trouble with large ones, like war or peace.

2. The basic problem seem to be emotional: men are somewhat more estranged from their own emotions than women, and therefore in a crisis their decisions can be unduly influenced by hidden emotions.

3. Electing women presidents is a first step. The second is arranging that all presidents and their staff take substantial courses in emotion recognition and management before they begin their term of office. Crucial emotions are anger, fear, grief, and shame/embarrassment/humiliation. The shame group is usually hidden under silence or anger and aggression. The latter is an unconscious process that results in the thirst for honor, and worse yet, vengeance. It is difficult to explain the rise of Hitler in any other way.

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 4. The third step would be courses in the necessity and art of negotiation, a much neglected arena. Most conflicts can be settled, or at least minimized with patient negotiation, but seldom are. The first World War, Vietnam, and Iraq are glaring examples.

 5. Finally, with luck, the new wave of leadership could try to interest the public in getting closer to their own emotions, to take some of the pressure off the leaders.

Thomas J. Scheff is Professor Emeritus of Sociology, University of California, Santa Barbara.


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