Many people felt that having a woman on the Republican ticket for the 2008 presidential race would help the party. And I know many felt that Sarah Palin was a bonus to the party – at least initially. For me, McCain’s choice of Palin as the vice-presidential candidate had the opposite effect.
I’m not afraid to say it. I am not a Sarah Palin fan.
As a woman who advocates for other women to succeed I feel badly saying this, but I view Sarah Palin as setting women back about thirty years. I really want to see a woman elected as President or Vice-President of the United States – but not at any cost. (In the interest of full disclosure, I will tell you that I am a registered independent with republican tendencies, but I don’t vote along party lines.)
The first female President should be intelligent, articulate, decisive, and not afraid to take risks. She will undoubtedly need to endure never-ending scrutiny with ease (including scrutiny about topics like their hairstyles and children – topics her male colleagues don’t have to put up with). She should be an exceptional leader.
Most of all, our first female President or VP should be the right female President or VP.
That’s why I am so excited to see strong effective female business leaders winning their primaries in California. Meg Whitman, former CEO of ebay, not only won the Republican race for Governor, she won by a landslide. Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, won the Republican nomination for the Senate race, also with a very healthy lead.
These are women who have broken through the glass ceiling in Corporate America. These are women who are resilient.
My optimism about these women stems not so much from their political views. I fully expect them to take strong positions that not everyone will agree with. My optimism stems from the fact that they are terrific role models.
Could it be that Corporate America is the right training ground for women in politics? Could one of these two women be the right choice? What do you think?