when i was young, my mother called me my fathers oldest son. it is true that he taught me to shoot, bought me boxing gloves so i could fight my brothers, and taught me how to win a debate. he also taught me that if i was doing the popular thing, i was probably doing the wrong thing.
the last might be the key to why most women, and especially American woman, are poor leaders. women tend to want to lead by consensus. that's fine if you are the head nurse and trying to figure out which night to have the pot luck. it does not work when you are a general in combat, or the president of the US.
women tend to be more emotional, and hold on to grudges....or try to buy consensus with favors. Pelosi did this with Jane Harmon, and Jack Mertha.
women tend to look at everything through their womanhood. again Pelosi is a good example. when interviewed about the plane request, she started one statement "as a women.....". i thought $^* does being a women have to do with whether you plane needs to refuel or not.....unless there is no head on the thing.....then maybe I'd want a pit stop.....
American society has played a role. we do not have royalty, so we have no women groomed from birth to be leaders. we have traditionally protected women, so we don't turn out a Golda Meir. we have made such a big deal of feminism, that we are more concerned with a '1st', than we are with a 'best'. Karpinski was a good example. I don't know if she was the first female US field general, but she is among the first. if you go back a look at her military history, it's more about the things she did as a military WOMAN, than as a military leader.
sort story: when i was in the military, there was a field specialty that i really wanted. when i first went in, it was closed to women because it was considered a combat assignment. some flipping feminist finally talked the pentagon into letting women into this specialty, and even though i was getting kind of old for that game, i decided to go for it. the deal the military made was that we had to meet the same standards that the guys met. that was fine with me. of the 20 or so who started, 5 of us finished. upon completion, a military reporter stuck a mic in our face and wanted to know how we felt about being among the first women to complete this program.....we had already been instructed to be polite....which was his good fortune....but i have always wondered why he didn't go ask the other 15 how it felt to be the first women to have failed.....
IMHO we need to pay less attention to firsts...first black/latino/women/catholic/mormon.....and more attention to the leadership qualities of the person we put out there. a failed leader, is a failed leader. in the end it does not matter what they look like.
and....we need to remember that being popular, is not the same as being a leader.