As you would very well know by now, Oprah Winfrey gave an incredible speech at the Golden Globes last week, inspiring a flurry of Instagram-able quotes. The video was shared, cut, edited and plastered all over social media, and it was warranted.
We all want a “new day to be dawning” for girls and women, a day when women never have to say “me too” again. Hearing Oprah, a woman often viewed as inspiration personified, take a stand on this, felt good. It made the start of 2018 feel like a new chapter– a time to follow your dreams.
But, a good speech does not a President make. Oprah should not aspire to lead America, no matter how much better than Donald Trump she’d be.
The United States is not short of extraordinary and very capable female candidates to run for the 2020 Democratic nominations and put an end to the Trump chapter of history. Sadly, any successful woman will also be tasked with cleaning up the mess.
The particularly “persistent” Senator Elizabeth Warren can’t be overlooked as a potential frontrunner, nor can Kirsten Gillibrand, who was elected to Hillary Clinton’s vacated Senate seat when she took on the Secretary of State position in Obama’s administration.
If you want to look outside of politics and into the celebrity realm, look to business: Sheryl Sandberg has long proven herself as an extraordinary operator and negotiator, even before she arrived at Facebook and later wrote Lean In.
Just because a female president is long overdue, doesn’t mean Oprah is it.
And just because the Republicans put in a mega-celebrity, doesn’t mean the Democrats should follow the lead. It could actually be a reason for the Democrats to resist it: to stick with policy experience.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi seems to agree, telling reporters last week. “I think one of the arguments for Oprah, arguments for Oprah, is 45. I think one of the arguments against Oprah is 45.” That 45 being, of course, the 45th President, Donald Trump.
This is our Morning Agenda column, posted around 8am each week day, sharing the latest on women from around the world.
We’re also watching today:
Sri Lanka lifts ban on women buying alcohol, for a moment
Put down the champagne glasses, it’s too early to celebrate this one. When news broke recently that Sri Lanka had lifted a ban on women buying alcohol, we put it as another international win for women. But the move has just been by overruled by President Maithripala Sirisena.
Mark Wahlberg is donating US$1.5 million to #TimesUP
And so he should! His donation comes following a major outcry that the actor was paid more than Michelle Williams for re-shooting scenes in the upcoming All The Money in The World, after Kevin Spacey was replaced in the film. Williams was reportedly paid less than $1000.
Chelsea Manning: “We need someone willing to fight”
What a difference a year makes. Chelsea Manning has confirmed she is running for the US Senate as a Democrat. The imprisoned leaker, who was once sentenced to serve 35 years in high security prison over violations to the espionage act, had her sentence commuted to time already served during President Barack Obama’s final days in office, this time last year. She said during her video address today that: “We need someone willing to fight.”
— Chelsea E. Manning (@xychelsea) January 14, 2018
One reason women in economics are getting less work published
An interesting (albeit concerning) study presented by Erin Hengel at an economics conference recently found female economists are held to higher standards when getting papers published. Check out the piece in The Economist.
It’s Raelene Castle’s first day as Rugby Australia boss
Wayne Smith offers some key priorities to address, urging her to ‘give ‘em hell’. In The Australian he also says she must reconnect the ‘heartstrings’ of the game, but adds that she she has a steep learning curve on the World Rugby Council (because she’s not a former international player)
And still on Oprah…
Over the weekend, Oprah responded directly to users on her Instagram account, as some noted that “normal people” can’t always speak up about sexual harassment. She said “I get it, I hear you”, and that she experienced harassment for years in her 20’s but said nothing because she knew she would have been fired. She also urged people to “hold on, hang in, do what you need to do to set yourself free.”