Our right to disagree is precious but fragile. The best way to protect and preserve it is to let the other side speak without demonizing them or destroying their right to be heard. Such civil exchanges are the heart beat of democracy - essential to keeping it alive.
Most female CEOs have been more understanding than their male counterparts, of the stress that new mothers experience to 'do it all,' which often means, 'all by themselves.' Why? They've been there. They understand the policies needed to keep women in the workforce.
Women need to see ourselves as individuals capable of creating change. That is what political and economic power is all about: having a voice, being able to shape the future. Women's absence from decision-making positions has deprived the country of a necessary perspective.
I confess to feeling continued ambivalence about political life, aware of its shortcomings and disappointments, but drawn back to it again and again because of its infinite promise. Justice can triumph, wrongs can be righted, and pain can be alleviated, if the right fix is found. The optimistic illusion that one can change the world is difficult to resist, especially when from time to time that illusion is sustained by even a hint of reality. Change does happen in the political process.
To be political means to speak out, to risk being called 'catty', or worse. I don't hear men worrying about whether they may be right or not. They enjoy the fight, whether it is with words or fists. Women still tend to shy away from controversy, to be uncomfortable with competition.
Every time a woman leaves the workforce because she can't find or afford childcare, or she can't work out a flexible arrangement with her boss, or she has no paid maternity leave, her family's income falls down a notch. Simultaneously, national productivity numbers decline.