Sugar and Spice

Carrie Lam's decision (whether hers or her mainland masters) to not seek reelection (if you can call it that) reminds me of a COVID comics collection I read last year. It was generally was pretty good, but one bit I found irritating, a comic comparing national leaders who handled the pandemic well vs. those who made terrible decisions (or indecisions), pointing out some of those who did well were women, so far so good, but then throwing in that it was probably because women are raised to take care of people.

First of all, this is the stuff google manifestos are made of (women are social, but neurotic and less analytical, so let's have few of them and make them pair program). And it ignores counterexamples such as Lam's nurturing Hong Kong democracy protesters into jail and her loving embrace of mainland "security" laws. Her COVID record isn't looking too good now, either.

And then there's Aang San Suu Kyi, a member of the they-gave-her-a-nobel-peace-price? club (along with Henry Kissinger). She presided over the Rohyingya genocide and defended the military's role (boys will be boys). Although they did turn on her (kids can be so ungrateful).

Closer to home, my own mayor and mob-attorney-wife Carolyn Goodman offered up Las Vegas casino workers as a pandemic "control group" (if you don't want to wear a mask or vaccinate, just say you're part of a study). She did concede she wouldn't set foot in a casino herself because she has a family, so there's a maternal bone in there somewhere.

I could go on and on (e.g. listing all the women in the Trump administration), but I'm not trying to say women are worse than men – rather, they can be just as bad as men, if they're just given the opportunity.

In my own career experience, some of my best bosses have been women and so have some of the worst. And sure, one of them baked me a cake during a high-pressure project, but she also thought poor people shouldn't have babies, putting her in competition with the one who didn't see the point of accomodating disabilities in the workplace, the computer scientist who is now an anti-vaxxer, and going all the way back to college, the PC store manager who spitefully withheld pay and left damaging memos in student employee files – I wouldn't say empathy has been a hallmark.

So let's not short-change the women who've led well by attributing their performance to some gender stereotype. Give them credit for being smart enough to know what to do and tough enough to make those decisions, and let's have more of them in charge.

Take Angela Merkel, one of those cited in the comic. She grew up in East Germany, got a doctorate in physics, and was Chancellor of Germany for sixteen years. And, sharing this is the real reason for this whole post, she has great taste in farewell music.

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