Should women run the country?
Despite arguments that females are still under represented in Singapore, experts retort that progress has been impressive, with 5 parliamentary seats held by women in 1990 to 24 in 2016 (The World Bank, 2017). In the United States, fewer than 1 in 5 members of Congress are women (Khlar et al, 2016), and we have just seen the impeachment of the first female South Korean president Park Geun-hye late last year.
A global phenomenon, what exactly explains the paucity of women in top leadership roles? Research suggests that women are trapped in a dilemma that is deeply entrenched in our society. Often called the double-bind, or the invisible "mindset", women are often evaluated based on a "masculine" standard of leadership (Catalyst, 2010). If a women adopts her feminine side, she will be seen as too soft and indecisive. Yet when she adopts a more "masculine" approach, others may find her too demanding. This leaves women with limited options, and no matter how they behave and perform as leaders, they will be seen unfavourably by men, and even their fellow female counterparts.
In the past, it would be unimaginable to give women political roles in conservative paternalistic states. Thankfully, our culture's views are changing. With more educated men and women, opportunities to take up political leadership roles have increased.