U.S. must catch-up in race for equality in leadership

The headlines read: Jamaica has sworn in its first female Prime Minister, Portia Simpson-Miller. Michelle Bachelet has become Chile’s first woman president. Liberia swore in its first female president, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf. Angela Merkel was elected Germany’s first woman chancellor.

Within this year alone, a new generation of female politicians is not only running for high official positions, but against all odds they are winning. Who would have thought 10, 15 years ago, that a woman would be elected president? And not just any woman, but a woman of what many consider a third-world country, where gender equality is non-existent.

The recent elections of Bachelet in Chile, Johnson-Sirleaf in Liberia, Merkel in Germany and most recently Simpson-Miller in Jamaica should serve as a wake-up call to the United States. These victories may hold the answer as to when and why a woman may soon be named president in the United States.

The obvious omission from the above list is the U.S., ironically the world’s leading democracy.

The question at hand is: Will the United States continue the trend of women gaining the ultimate highest position in political office or will the United States continue to lag behind and watch the rest of the world progress into the 21st century?

A recent USA Today/Gallup poll shows 70 percent believe they are likely to vote for a woman president in 2008.

Rumor has it that U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton are the hopefuls for the possible female-only race in the 2008 presidential elections.

Sen. Clinton stood alongside former President Clinton when he called the White House home and Condoleezza Rice works with President Bush everyday; deep down they both have a voice that needs to be heard.

Despite their political party affiliation, both these individuals are capable of running the country and possibly propelling it to the level where it needs to be and allowing for some stability.

It may seem odd, but these foreign countries have actually set the precedent for the U.S. to follow and take heed.

Women have fought long and hard for equal rights and justice in a democracy where the government is run by the people for the people. It has been a long time coming and a woman deserves to hold the title of President of the United States of America.

Malika Harrison is a junior newspaper journalism student from Miami. She can be reached at malika1.harrison@famu.edu.