Last update: 13-Dec-2013 1:58 am
Friday, December 13, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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US Congresswoman says: Women may be better leaders
NEW YORK—The hard line and uncompromising tone in Washington may have something to do with male socialisation. This is according to US representative, Yvette Clarke of the 11th New York Congressional district. In a Trinidad and Tobago Guardian exclusive, Congresswoman Clarke attributed the recent political tug-of-war over the deficit to a mindset endemic in male culture. “It is a non-negotiable, win-win, behavioural attitude that has been transferred to the political arena, to the detriment of the community,” she said. Speaking at her Brooklyn office, Clarke was encouraged by the ascendancy of women to the highest political office in many parts of the world, but called the development “ironic,” as US women still struggle to break the proverbial glass ceiling. “We have a situation where our women are not in places where networking is done, such as golf courses and the board rooms,” she said.
She said, however, she believed that while funding was essential to run for office, bonding with one’s constituents was equally, if not more important. “There have been cases where loads of money just cannot win political office,” she said. The Congresswoman, who is of Jamaican parentage and daughter of political stalwart, Dr Una Clarke, was alarmed at the spate of scandals in Washington that have sullied the image of politicians. While she conceded that women could also be seduced by power and a sense of entitlement, she believed that they chose political careers for different reasons. “We become politicians to make changes for the betterment of our families and the community,” Clarke said.
“I really believe that the big ego tripping is less of an issue.”
She advised young women interested in politics to go beyond academic training and campaigning. “We have to go behind the scenes and see how institutional building takes place and how policies are made,” she said. “These are the nuts and bolts of effective management and leadership.” In her third term in office, she viewed the current social and economic climate as threatening and in need of a clear and effective response. “There is no shortage of capable women in our communities...Many are leaders in our churches and NGOs (non-governmental organisations), but we must mentor our young women to assume even greater responsibility,” Clarke said. When asked about national security and terrorism, she was unequivocal: “Women have the same instincts to protect our families and our nations. “However, we have situational awareness that allows us to carefully consider all the factors before taking action,” she said.“Don’t mistake this for weakness, for if we must strike, we will do so decisively.”
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