Women on Top in the World’s Democracies
In today’s world, men continue to hold disproportionate power, which they often use in ways that prevent women from gaining more. But, judging by the fast-growing number of women on the political stage – and given that they include fascists, liberals, greens, and socialists – the days of male supremacy are numbered.
MOSCOW – US President Donald Trump’s recent declaration that four Democratic congresswomen of color – Ayanna Pressley, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib – should “go back” to their countries was another reminder of his blatant racism and sexism. (Three of them were born in the United States, and the fourth became a US citizen as a teenager.) But it also highlighted the rising profiles of women in politics – a trend that will continue, no matter how much it terrifies insecure men like Trump.
A century ago in Europe, leading suffragists – such as Inessa Armand, Rosa Luxemburg, and Clara Zetkin – had little choice but to seek powerful men to validate their aspirations. One such man was Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin, who advocated the elimination of “old laws which placed woman in inequality in relation to man.” Armand was (allegedly) romantically involved with Lenin, and Zetkin interviewed him on “the women’s question” in 1920, following his 1919 speech on the “tasks of the working women’s movement in the Soviet republic.”
This approach was understandable, but it proved ineffective. Lenin insisted that only socialism – with its promise of equality for all – could liberate women. “Wherever the power of capital is preserved,” he declared in that speech, “the men retain their privileges.”