The Guardian reports: There was a time when German political commentators loved to compare Angela Merkel to Margaret Thatcher. When the German chancellor first took office more than a decade ago, admirers and detractors alike wondered whether she would be her country’s Eiserne Frau or Iron Lady.
No one makes that comparison any more. With Theresa May the current frontrunner to become Britain’s next prime minister, commentators in Germany have been wondering, mostly approvingly, whether it is the British home secretary who could be “a duplicate of the German chancellor”. Like Merkel, the German TV commentator Wolfram Weimer noted on Tuesday, May “operates in an aloof and sober way, but … always knows what she wants”.
But she is also, of course, a woman, and in a piece for the German daily newspaper Die Welt, the writer Mara Delius expressed an increasingly widespread sense that May, along with Merkel and Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, represents part of a new “femokratie”, coming to “clean up the mess created by the men”. They were, she said, “postmodern Elektras in trouser suits and rubber gloves”. Thank goodness, the piece suggested, Europe looked at last to be in safe (female) hands.
Certainly these might seem to be remarkable times for female political leadership in Britain and across the world. May is joined at the front of the Conservative leadership race by Andrea Leadsom, the energy minister and former banker.
Should Labour MPs ever decide to move against Jeremy Corbyn, Angela Eagle has declared she will challenge him. Aside from Sturgeon, the Conservative and Labour party leaders in Scotland, the first minister of Northern Ireland and the leader of Plaid Cymru are all women. The Green party has been led by a woman for almost a decade and its former leader, Caroline Lucas, is running again as a job-share candidate.
Internationally, meanwhile, Hillary Clinton is the favourite to take the US presidency in November, and could even pick another woman, Elizabeth Warren, as her running mate. The head of the International Monetary Fund and the US attorney general are women, and the next UN secretary general, due to be chosen later this year, may well be too. [Continue reading…]