America loves it men. Far more than its women.
Slightly more than half of our country is female (51 percent to be exact). Yet only 20 percent of our Congress is female. And we have yet to elect a woman president. Indeed, the last one who ran was rejected even though she was far more qualified than her male opponent. Your grandmother wasn’t surprised in the least, Vera. She insisted all along that America would not elect a woman. She was right (as she often is).
Compare our stats to other Western countries. Sweden’s parliament is 45 percent women. Denmark’s is 40 percent. France’s is 39 percent. Germany’s is 37 percent.
Only 12 percent of our governors in the States are women. And have you checked out the president’s cabinet? Fewer than 19 percent are women.
For heaven’s sake, even countries like Mozambique, South Africa, Vietnam, Mauritania, Kazakhstan, and Laos have significantly higher percentages of public officials who are women than we do.
I don’t have the stats of CEOs and corporate boards at my finger tips, but I’m certain they would paint a similar picture. Men dominate our board rooms and executive suites in America. And our law firms. Accounting firms. Pulpits. College presidencies. Courts. Etc. Etc.
This is the world you’re entering, Vera. It pains me to think that the opportunities available to you will be fewer than will be available to the boys in your daycare class.
Perhaps it won’t hold you back. Perhaps you’ll be able to do what you want to do notwithstanding America’s patriarchal systems and values. I hope so. But if not, then you have my full support to do battle with the men who fear the competition. Or who feel entitled because of their size or superior physical strength.
Do not be intimidated by such men. Do not cower. Or bend to their will. They are weaker than they might appear at first blush.
Be yourself. Push forward. Kindly. But forcefully when necessary.