Kunin: True Democracy

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Commentator’s Brunch Sampler

(HOST) For the annual Commentator Brunch this year, the theme was
"Picture This" and we’re hearing recorded excerpts from that event all
this week. Commentator Madeleine Kunin suggested what the world might
look like – if more leaders were women.

(KUNIN) My name is Madeleine Kunin and this is "If Women Had Equal Power."

if 50 percent the members of Congress were women instead of a mere 16
percent. The huddle of men circling the podium to announce cuts for
Planned Parenthood, the Environmental Protection Agency, Head Start and
Medicare, might not take place, if the group were interspersed with an
equal number of women.

When the television cameras sweep across
the House or Senate Floor, there would be less gray and more reds, blues
and yellows. But it’s not just about color. It’s about who sits at the
table and what gets done. More mothers, daughters, sisters, wives and
aunts would help set the agenda. The outcome on some issues would be

Now, not every woman would vote in unison. Wearing
red would be Republican Representative Michelle Bachman and other
conservatives who would vote with their party. But women don’t have to
all agree to make a difference. A few more women’s votes would change
the outcome. Why? Women, like men, base their views on their life
experiences which are still somewhat different than men’s. Women tend to
support programs that improve the lives of children and families. They
would provide the tipping point on issues like child care, paid
maternity leave, and early education.

Now, picture a United
Nations portrait of world leaders, half of whom were women. Would we be
more likely to wage peace, rather than war? Yes, there have been women
warriors, starting with the Amazons, and continuing with Golda Meir,
Margaret Thatcher, and Indira Ghandi. And frankly, we have not had
enough female leaders to know whether they are the exception or the
rule. But let’s give it a try.

I do know that a woman leader
would not instigate a policy of mass rape as a tool of war as has
happened in Darfur, Bosnia and in Congo. And if women were in control of
Afghanistan , I can picture them building more schools for girls,
instead of destroying them. If Lehman brothers had been Lehman sisters
and brothers, the financial world may not have experienced a meltdown.

I picture an equal number of women and men sitting together in the
halls of power everywhere, what I see is a picture of true democracy.

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