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Thursday, May 26, 2022
HomeLatest NewsThe Leadership We Want: Empathy (She) or Experience (He)

The Leadership We Want: Empathy (She) or Experience (He)

One of the most interesting surveys of recent months was published this week. In addition to voting intentions and seat distribution, this registration change is welcome to analyze and deepen what qualities and shortcomings citizens consider when evaluating the current political leadership in Spain. It’s nice to go beyond electoral irrationality to explore the perceptions and values ​​that are, or we think are, behind the support of the headliners of the major political forces that will present themselves in the next general election. at the end of 2023.

Among the current political leaders and those who were estimated at 40 dB in the May barometer for El País and Cadena SER, the Galicians Yolanda Diaz and Alberto Nunez Feijoo emerge victorious due to their charismatic character. Looking at the data in purple glasses and looking at it from a gender perspective, we can see how important it is that because of the qualities that stand out the most for both are… “same-sex.”

For Yolanda Diaz, the most valued of the four leaders asked about (Sanchez, Feijoo, Abascal and she), the most prominent quality attributed by the respondents is “empathy”. “leave him the care of the child.” For its part, Feihoo stands out, first of all, for the attribute “experience” and the fact that he is preferred “to be entrusted with the management of savings.” Other qualities they stand out for are, in the case of the minister of labor, “honesty” and “a good person”, while the Galician president is still valued for being “prepared” and “intelligent”. It is true that it is precisely in two of these qualities, intelligence and honesty, that both leaders are almost equal; however, it should not be overlooked that the final conclusion that can be drawn from the survey as a whole is that “she is good” and “he is capable.”

Analyzing the data from this feminist perspective, it is necessary to understand that if responses are influenced by “role prescription” it is because political leaders are understood by public opinion and therefore also by the electorate with an almost uncontrolled gender bias. . Nowadays (non-electoral) sensitivity is a quality that appreciates the leadership of a political woman, and being a good manager is the same for a male leader. It is this prescription, this gender bias, that usually results in women holding most social positions and holding less power in ministerial offices, while men are seen as statesmen. However, this does not apply to Yolanda Diaz. The minister holds one of the most responsible ministerial portfolios in the Spanish government and, in addition, she has excellent political results, which decisively influence the government’s agenda. This week, his ministerial portfolio posted the best employment data in fourteen years, and not exactly in very quiet times.

If Yolanda Diaz were a candidate for the presidency of Spain, it would be the first time in forty years of democracy that a woman has stood for a general election. For this reason, despite being ranked the most and best in the 40dB barometer, there is an element that needs to be taken into account, something that reveals the essence of the study: leadership has a gender, and so far it has been a man.

Fighting gender stereotypes in politics is perhaps one of the most difficult tasks that a responsible and leading woman in this area of ​​power can face. In the case of Yolanda Diaz, the balance is clear in light of how public opinion perceives her: how to continue to appreciate those qualities of empathy and honesty that are so popular and seductive at the time in order to have options as a future candidate. , should be valued most of all in those other qualities that, even possessing, are usually attributed to men as such: purposefulness, housekeeping, preparation, etc. In fact, if Angela Merkel ended her term as one of the most respected political leaders in their own country, it is precisely because of qualities similar to those that the study attributes to Feige: experience and managerial qualities. This is the complexity of the problem for those other female political leaders from feminism: do we have to have the attributes socially assigned to men from gender stereotypes in order to run the country? So far we know that in the case of some municipalities and autonomous communities there was no Uxue Barcos or Ada Colau. We know from feminism that empathy is not incompatible with good governance, but the problem in politics when a sensitive and empowered woman enters the scene, as Edward Bono says, is that perception is real, even if it is not real. Or, to put it more simply, there are those who believe that empathy is contrary to good governance. Here’s how it goes.


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