Friday, October 16, 2009

Pittsburgh Summit Spouses

Belgian Waffle asks us to consider how far we have to go in gender equality in relation to this photo (For names see here).

Immediately, we notice that Angela Merkel's husband is not there. Joachim Sauer is a Professor researching in quantum chemistry at Humboldt University in Berlin and does not often attend public functions. Not even her inauguration this year.

Also not in attendance is Nestor Kirchner, husband of Cristina Kirchner, President of Argentina. Cristina was elected as Nestor's successor. So, should he support her as much as she supported him in her role as First Lady, or should he stay in the background?

A third First Gentleman could have attended, if India had sent their President rather than their Prime Minister.

These women are, for the most part, well educated and had fairly high power jobs. However, the information I can find seems to suggest that most have given up their own work to support their husband and his political party, along with some charitable or governmental work. Only two seem to be labelled as mothers - Svetlana Medvedeva (Russia) and Nompumelelo Ntuli (South Africa), though many have children. I can only find clear information to show three First Ladies working in their own right: Thailand - Dr of and lecturer in Mathematics, France - singer/songwriter, Australia - MD of a Welfare to Work Emploment Agency. I suppose, though, if you choose to take on the role of a First Lady there isn't time to work as well.

But, the question remains. Why is it that these well educated, successful women are the First Ladies, not the Heads of State? Why does gender still matter?

Many of their husbands began their political careers at least 20 years ago. The times maybe changing, but it might take just as long for current politically ambitious women to work their way up. In 20 years will things be different?

1 comment:

Anne said...

Interesting. Wouldn't hold my breath for big changes in 20 years..