Date
14 December 2017
Theresa May (left) will be only the second female prime minister of Britain after Margaret Thatcher. Hillary Clinton (center) could be the next US president and Carrie Lam (right) is widely tipped to run for Hong Kong chief executive next year. Photos: Bl
Theresa May (left) will be only the second female prime minister of Britain after Margaret Thatcher. Hillary Clinton (center) could be the next US president and Carrie Lam (right) is widely tipped to run for Hong Kong chief executive next year. Photos: Bl

Can female leaders clean up the mess of their male counterparts?

It looks like Britain’s incoming prime minister, Theresa May, has her work cut out for her.

One of her immediate tasks is to talk Nicola Sturgeon, the first minister of Scotland, out of holding another referendum on Scottish independence.

We shall see what sort of gender dynamic will be at play when these two leaders meet.

Coincidentally, the United States, Britain’s most important ally, could elect its first woman president in November.

Hillary Clinton is leading Donald Trump in every major poll and many people believe she has a good chance to beat him due to her much wider support base.

In recent years, the world has seen the rise of female national leaders.

South Korea and Taiwan already have female presidents. In Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi is the de facto head of state, even though she is not president.

Female politicians are often considered less confrontational and more diplomatic in handling crises and tend to resonate more easily with the public.

In the global political scene, which is still dominated by males, female leaders might have a natural advantage in breaking political deadlocks at critical moments.

Interestingly, Hong Kong, too, may have a female leader next year, with Chief Secretary Carrie Lam widely tipped to be the frontrunner in the race for chief executive next year.

If she is elected, would that be a curse or a blessing for Hong Kong? And could she clean up the mess left behind by her male predecessor?

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on July 11

Translation by Alan Lee

[Chinese version 中文版]

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Hong Kong Economic Journal

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