Why Women Should Rule the World

posted March 3rd, 2010 by Janet Graham - Leave a Comment

Why Women Should Rule the World was written by Dee Dee Meyers. She was the spokeswoman for Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign, and from January 20, 1993, to December 22, 1994 served as White House press secretary — the first woman appointed to the position. She was later co-host of the CNBC talk show Equal Time and a consultant and contributor to NBC’s television drama The West Wing.  In fact, I believe she was the inspiration for the character played by Allison Janney, C. J. Cregg.


 In an early chapter, she said something which resonated with me in terms of telling the stories of the women I admired on Bay Street. “I share my story in the hope that it will help other women avoid some of the traps that I fell into — and to reassure them that they’re not alone if they do. And I share my story because looking honestly at what happened to me — and why — has helped me to understand that some of the forces that shaped the events were bigger than I. That’s not to say I didn’t make mistakes. I did. And If I had a chance to do it all again, there’s plenty that I would change. But there’s plenty that I couldn’t change. Understanding that has allowed me to stop blaming myself for everything that went wrong — and start taking credit for some of the things that went right. And that’s made all the difference in the world.”


Another excerpt highlights the importance of having mentors and girlfriends, Meyers says: “When I came to Washington, just months past my thirty-first birthday, I’d never lived or worked in the capital, and with one or two exceptions, the only people I knew were those who had worked on the campaign. I didn’t have another support network. I didn’t have mentors, or even more seasoned girlfriends, who could have instructed me in the ways of Washington, helped me interpret the tribal rituals — or taken me shopping for shoes and suits. And I could have used that.”


Her perspective is interesting for those of us who have not experienced public service and instructive to see many of the same issues apply.


For example, Meyers says: “Before most people can imagine themselves in a particular role, they need to see other people who look like them doing something similar. To be sure, there are exceptions; some people ignore the obstacles, the certainty of history, the voices that tell them never, and crash through barriers to create a new reality for themselves and those who follow. But for the most part, seeing is believing. It was for me. I never would have become White House press secretary without the example, help, and encouragement of the women around me. Some of them I knew; others I only wanted to know.”  She says: “Clearly, role models do more than allow women to imagine themselves in a series of bigger and better roles. They allow other people — both men and women — to adjust, if that’s the right word, to women in positions that have traditionally been filled only by men. And once they do, the road ahead becomes a little easier.”


And I could quote many more interesting facts and figures and interpretations. However, I will just offer one final one which makes me think of the courageous women who have allowed me to tell their stories and confirms my reason for wanting to do so.


“So I was helped along by the women who came before me at virtually every stage of my life and career. But for others, there just weren’t any women doing what they wanted to do when they wanted to do it. They had to make it up as they went along. And with a little help — sometimes from other women — and a lot of pluck, they created their own futures. For them, the focus was more often on being, rather than seeing, role models.”


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