P. 1
Cleopatra Syndrom

Cleopatra Syndrom

|Views: 302|Likes:
Published by Selma Karadza

More info:

Categories:Types, Resumes & CVs
Published by: Selma Karadza on Mar 18, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less

06/13/2014

pdf

text

original

An Introduction to the Cleopatra Syndrome: Golda, Indira, Bella, Shirley, Margaret, Géraldine and Hillary (and now Sarah

): Educating Women for Leadership Roles in the 21st Century
Beverly McQueary Smith^

Two visions of Cleopatra as either a vamp or an intellectual joined in the election campaign of 2008 as the quest for female leadership in the new Millennia ensued. The Cleopatra story paints a picture of an historic figure whose life captures our imagination. Barbara Brotman, a reporter for the Chicago Tribune published an article in 2001 entitled, Heads of state, ahead of their time; Cleopatra may be the most famous, but she was not the only Egyptian woman to prove she could rule as mightily as a man} She points out that: [t]hese women ruled a world power. They led armies. They vanquished enemies. As far back as more than 4,000 years before American women won the right to vote. They were the power women of Egypt—queens who held ultimate supremacy in a nation that was at times the most dominant on earth.^

' Beverly McQueary Smith is Professor of Law at Touro College: The Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center in Central Islip, NY. Known professionally for many years as Beverly M.M. Charles, she now prefers to be identified as Beverly McQueary Smith. Chair of Section on Women in the Legal Education of the American Association of Law Schools from 2008-2009. ^ Barbara Brotman, Heads of state, ahead of their time; Cleopatra may be the most famous, but she was not the only Egyptian woman to prove she could rule
as mightily as a man, CHI. TRIB., NOV. 14, 2001 at Cl.

486

JOURNAL OF PUBLIC LAW & POLICY

[Vol.

30:

Our current views of who and what kind of leader Cleopatra was are too often shaped by what we have seen in dramatic portrayals about her life. Most of us will recall a scene of Cleopatra's meeting with Julius Caesar, the Roman General as she tumbled from an unfurled carpet."* Amy Crawford elaborates on the legacy and image of Cleopatra. She writes: Though some modem historians have portrayed Cleopatra as a capable, popular Egyptian leader, we tend to imagine her through Roman eyes. During her lifetime and in the century after her death, Roman propaganda, most of it originating with her enemy Octavian, painted Cleopatra as a dangerous harlot who employed sex, witchcraft and cunning as she grasped for power beyond what was proper for a woman. . . . The real Cleopatra had charisma, and her sexiness stemmed from her intelligence— what Plutarch describes as "the charm of her conversation"—rather than her kohl-rimmed eyes. Pharaoh Cleopatra VII was a brilliant leader, says Joann Fletcher. "She was one of the most dynamic figures the world has ever seen. And I don't think that's an exaggeration."^ These two visions of Cleopatra as either a vamp or a brilliant intellectual joined in the election campaign of 2008. The world watched with wonder as the United States struggled to move pass gender and racial stereotypes to elect the next leader of the free world. Shankar Vedantam of the Washington Post, published an article, ''Nicer sex ' image at play in

" Amy Crawford, Who Was Cleopatra? Mythology, Propaganda, Liz Taylor and * the real Queen of the Nile, SMITHSONIAN.COM, April 1, 2007, http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/biography/cleopatra.html. ^ Id.

2]

Introduction

487

politics—Stereotypes complex for female leaders in 2007.^ She wrote: If you consult the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, which is created by Intemet users, you will see a pattem emerge in the phrases used to describe the first female leaders of many countries. England's Margaret Thatcher, you will leam, was called "Attila the Hen." Golda Meir, Israel's first female prime minister was "the only man in the Cabinet." President Richard Nixon called Indira Gandhi, India's first female prime minister, "the old witch." And Angela Merkel, the current chancellor of Germany, has been dubbed "The Iron Frau." . . . . In recent years, however, a host of cleverly designed psychological experiments have shown that a subtler dynamic is at play. . . . The driving factor in the way women leaders are perceived, experiments show is that people have strong and often unconscious conceptions about men, women and leadership. . . . Experiments show that women vying for leadership roles are automatically assigned two labels: A—Nice and warm, but incompetent. B—Competent but unpleasant. Women stuck with Label A cannot be leaders, because the stereotype of leadership is incompatible with incompetence. Women who are leaders get stuck with Label B, because if leadership is
Shankar Vedantam, ^ Nicer sex' image at play in politics—Stereotypes complex for female leaders, CHI. TRIB. NOV. 13, 2007 at 6.

488

JOURNAL OF PUBLIC LAW & POLICY

[Vol.

30:

unconsciously associated with manliness, cognitive consistency requires that female leaders be stripped of the caring qualities normally associated with women. ^ Thus, it was that Sarah Palin, a winner of beauty pageants, whose attempts to gain a bachelor's degree took many detours faired less well when compared to Hillary Clinton, a graduate of Yale Law School. We saw beauty and brains vying against one another. We saw competence and incompetence side-by-side. This introduction to the symposium edition provides some insights into why Cleopatra fascinates us even today. Some of us will recall Sarah Palin's responses to questions about foreign policy and her reading materials. Others will recall Hillary Rodman Clinton's formidable mastery of facts as she debated the other democratic candidates. As the campaign progressed, many of us wondered aloud whether we really wanted Sarah Palin to be a heartbeat away from the presidency. At the time of this panel's conception, we had one woman contender, Hillary Clinton, for the highest elected office in the United States of America. By Election Day, we had Sarah Palin as the Republican Party's candidate for Vice President of the United States of America, and Hillary Clinton's chances of gaining the Democratic Party's nomination were gone. In January 2009, the Association of American Law Schools held its annual meeting in San Diego, California. The Section on Women in Legal Education proposed to examine why it was that the people of the United States of America had never elected a women president. When we proposed the panel topic in August of 2008, Senator Hillary Clinton (D, NY), a former first lady, was busy campaigning for the presidency. Months later. Senator John McCain (R, AZ) selected Governor Sarah Palin (R, AK) as his running mate for the office of Vice President of the United States.

'Id.

2]

Introduction

489

Pursuant to a call for papers, an array of scholars worked to address the questions posed: 1. What factors, talents, abilities and skills propelled women into leadership in foreign nations in the past? 2. Why does the United States of America appear to be lagging behind? 3. What skill-sets must and should women leaders have to serve well? 4. What can educational institutions do to strengthen women's capacities to gain leadership positions? 5. What values or morals must women bring to the Oval Office? 6. Do women really have to be tough enough, and what does that mean in this context? 7. Do our educational institutions do their job? 8. What curricular changes, if any, are necessary to produce leaders for the next generation? The panelists and authors, JoEUen Lind, Pamela Laufer-Ukeles, Andrea Schneider, Nina Schichor, Deleso Alford Washington, and Elizabeth Nowicki participated in the panel and generated the articles contained in this symposium edition published by the Hamline Journal of Public Law and Policy. I served as the moderator and facilitator ofthe panel discussion. Into the next decade, we will continue to wonder what we can do to increase the likelihood of a woman becoming President

490

JOURNAL OF PUBLIC LAW & POLICY

[Vol.

30:

of the United States of America. While one of questions posed to the panelists asked, "what curricular changes, if any, are necessary to produce leaders for the next generation?," none of the questions directly addresses the issue of how to change societal perceptions of what competent women leaders look like. If examining the male prototype of a leader or president of the Unites States of America is any barometer of what it takes to gain that office, then we note that virtually all presidents since Franklyn Delano Roosevelt graduated from Ivy League universities or service academies where leadership was stressed in the curriculum.^ Merely to have a female leader who is the only man in the cabinet, as Golda Meir was described, and who does not embody the special attributes of femininity, may defeat the goals of having presidents that can lead us into an era when "America can be a kinder, gentler nation."^ Can women by virtue of their gender embrace a notion of leadership which has as its mantra, 'Do Some Good, But Do No Harm'? Can they bring a heart-centered or compassion-centered approach to governance and conflict resolution? Will female leaders promote and achieve greater peace in the world? Harriet Rubin argues that America is ready for a new type of leadership. She published an article entitled. How 'mamisma ' can change politics; Gender doesn 't have to work against female candidates. In fact, the right mix of femininity and strength might be just what the electorate ordered in USA Today in 2007. "^ She argues that America is ready to elect a female president." She further observes that "[t]he most macho countries Chile, Liberia,

^ Exceptions to this statement include Harry S. Truman, Lyndon Baines Johnson and Richard Nixon. ' President George W. H. Bush in his acceptance speech at the 1988 Republican Convention coined this phase when he announced that he would seek to make "America a kinder, gentler nation." '" Harriet Rubin, How 'mamisma' can change politics; Gender doesn't have to work against female candidates. In fact, the right mix of femininity and strength might be just what the electorate ordered, U.S.A. TODAY, Jan. 30, 2007 at A-11.

2]

Introduction

491

Germany have recently elected women chief executives as symbols of change."'^ Rubin asserts that: Mamisma is femininity defined by mature and maternal qualities. It lets a female candidate make men look like wimps while doing the taboo-dance, enticing people to fall in love with her. The history of female leaders (sic) queens, presidents, prime ministers reveals that they sell mamisma hard. Israeli's Golda Meir, for example, was no conventional object of desire. She seduced by making her desires plain, like any good mother . . . . After their youthful sexuality fades, mamisma women stand toe to toe with powerful men. They often refer to love and trust as bold alternatives to the hard edges of power that be.'^ In closing, I encourage all of us to consider some guidance from the Dalai Lama. On Thursday, April 30, 2009, the Dalai Lama''* talked about "Educating the Heart," at an event jointly hosted by the Harvard Graduate School of Education and the Harvard Divinity School.'^ The Dalai Lama offered his perspective on religion and education, and stressed the importance of both in developing compassion.'^

''' The spiritual leader of the Tibetan people, Tenzin Gyatso, the H * Dalai Lama at age 73, has lived in exile since the Chinese suppressed the Tibetan uprising in 1959. '^ Colleen Walsh, The Dalia Lama speaks at Harvard, HARVARD UNIVERSITY GAZETTE ONLINE, April 30, 2009, http://www.news.harvard.edU/gazette/2009/04.30/l 1-dalailama.html. The Dahlia Lama addressed a capacity crowd at the Memorial Church at Harvard University. Id. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 because of his support for peace and tolerance. Id.

492

JOURNAL OF PUBLIC LAW & POLICY

[Vol. 3 0 :

Education has an important role to play in enlightening the spirit, said the Dalai Lama. But he wamed that people with intelligent minds but lacking a compassionate heart can succumb to competition, anger, and jealousy. Educating the heart on compassion, and giving love and kindness to others, he offered, will lead to true inner peace. It's critical, he added, "to educate [people] to be good social members."'^ After the speech at Memorial Church, the Dalai Lama along with Harvard President Drew Faust, University Marshall Jacqueline O'Neill, Harvard Divinity School Dean William A. Graham and Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Dean Kathleen McCartney planted a birch tree in front of the Memorial Church.'^ The tree is a hybrid, a combination of Eastem and Westem varieties, created especially for the occasion by the staff of the Harvard's Amold Arboretum.'^ President Faust said, "Just as the Dalai Lama illuminates our roles as stewards of the environment, compassionate towards all creatures, so shall this tree shine for all who pass this way, a reminder of our interdependence."^" I invite each reader to think about how we can alter or expand societal perceptions of competent women leaders. I invite each reader to examine why it is that foreign nations managed to elect female heads of state. I invite each reader to examine American society's fascination with the dichotomy of the Cleopatra figure. I invite each reader to ask whether the next decades will provide us with women who will lead with a compassionate heart in a world that promotes increased tolerance of differences in a country that is indeed kinder and gentler.

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
scribd
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->