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A Tipping Point Missed

WASHINGTON, DC – Before America and the world settle in firmly to the new Donald Trump-based reality, let’s take a little trip down the road not taken. Suppose we had woken up last Wednesday morning to a President-elect Hillary Clinton. And let’s say that, instead of former Portuguese Prime Minister António Guterres, New Zealand’s Helen Clark or Bulgaria’s Kristalina Georgieva had been picked to succeed Ban Ki-moon as United Nations Secretary-General.

Clinton would have joined the United Kingdom’s Theresa May and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, helping achieve critical mass in the G7. And a female UN Secretary-General would have placed women at the helm of two of the world’s three biggest international organizations (France’s Christine Lagarde already runs the International Monetary Fund).

With so many female leaders, we would have begun to answer the question: what happens when women run the world? Would the world be better for women? Would it even be different?

According to sociologists, female leaders are of two schools: Queen Bees, who are less likely to help other women advance, and Righteous Women, who make the advancement of other women a priority. Most early pioneers, such as the UK’s Margaret Thatcher, India’s Indira Gandhi, and Israel’s Golda Meir, were Queen Bees; all of them eschewed feminism. More recently, Righteous Women have prevailed. Leaders like Argentina’s Cristina Kirchner, Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff, and Iceland’s Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir have all sought, in one way or another, to empower women and help them advance in their countries.