It’s often said that if women ruled the world, there would be no wars. I like to think that if we were in charge, we’d have better things to do than slaughter each other. Instead we’d settle disputes in a nice, civilised fashion – doing something like having spa treatments, rather than glowering at each other over a desk. Much nicer for all concerned. One oft-cited counterargument to the idea of women being less warlike is Margaret Thatcher sending troops to the Falklands, as if this proves that female leaders are or would be just as warmongering as male leaders.
But this misses the point. Mrs Thatcher was one woman leading a country. The ‘if women ruled the world’ theory would have to posit that women were as a majority in positions of power. That means the majority of CEOs, politicians, police, military leaders being female. And I don’t see that happening any time soon.
So would the world be better off if women were in charge?
The idea of a female-led world does sometimes crop up in comedy. Check out this sketch which imagines a female-led UK in 2012 (the distant future at the time the sketch was made):
But it’s also a concept taken quite seriously in some circles, on a more personal level at least. Google ‘FLR’ or Female-Led Relationships, and you’ll find hundreds of sites dedicated to the idea of a woman being the leader in a personal relationship with a man. Not surprisingly, one FLR is not the same for all. It could involve any degree of ‘woman in charge’ – from taking a little more control to full-blown ‘My word is Law’. But even in the 21st century, it’s still quite a surprising concept, when we’re used to equal or male-dominated societies.
FLRs are likely to be quite secretive, given the still-prevailing concepts of what masculinity should entail, and they’re also personal. So they have very little impact on the world at large. And not all relationships are F/M anyway. Quite a nice idea, though. But it’s hard to tell if the world as a whole really would do better with women in charge. Maybe it’s just human nature to fight, hate and fear, and women would be just as argumentative as men. I’d go for it though. It’s worth a try. Let’s start with the US. Now it really would be interesting, to see what Madam President would do …