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Glass Ceiling Politics

The glass ceiling got a sever knock leaving it with 18 million cracks back in 2008. So goes urban mythology US style. Hillary’s cracked it / This I know / For the TV told me so.

And by all accounts, well, a lot of accounts, she’s going to punch a hole right through it come November. The Free World, America the Exceptional, the world’s largest economy, the huddled masses – shush, unfortunately they’re still with us – are going to have a new leader. Forget for a minute that a great number of good people in that country who don’t actually like her very much.

A new head of state will emerge. Gorbymania, the folksy charm of Ronald Reagan, the Queen of England’s serenity not to mention her sovereign people and overseas territories , the Second Coming will have nothing to compare. Surely where Hillary Rodham Clinton leads others will follow.

Hang on a minute. This is the 21st century and before this there was history. Things happened.

There was Reagan’s old mate, Margaret Thatcher. Whatever she may have thought herself, technically she was not head of state. The queen, remember. But she was elected prime minister of the UK. A lot of Brits didn’t like her either.   And we all know Angela Merkel heads up the Federal Republic of Germany.

Across the Irish Sea there have been two elected women presidents in the Republic of Ireland. The first, Mary Robinson, went on to become the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

In Latin America Nicaragua elected Violeta Chamorra president in 1990. Neighbouring Costa Rica has had Laura Chinchilla as president. Further south Cristina Fernández de Kirchner was elected president of Argentina, Michelle Bachelet in Chile and  Dilma Rousseff in Brazil.

Africa is no stranger to women presidents. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, besides being a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, is today’s president of Liberia and the first elected head of state in Africa. In southern Africa Joyce Banda became head of state in Malawi 2012. And there are plenty of others.

Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga of Sri Lanka became president of that Asian country in 1994. Her mother Sirimavo Bandaranaike was prime minister for two periods during the 1960s and 1970s. And of course there was Indira Gandhi, prime minister of India from 1966 until 1984, a woman of international standing.

This is serious business, it’s not a case of the feminization of a Star Trek fantasia; to boldly go where no man has gone before. The US is playing catch up with a slowly but steadily changing world. There is more than one glass ceiling in the world and women from all over have been breaking through it for years.

Why is the US taking so long?

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Sam Gordon worked in a Belfast factory, then an engineer in the merchant navy, a trainer, researcher and co-coordinator of community projects in Scotland. A graduate from various universities, on a good day he claims he’s a decorative artist and sometimes writer. Most days he’s a blacksmith, welder, and painter in Nicaragua.

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