Meet the Panelists (01:43)
BBC parliamentary correspondent Sean Curran explains the debate format and introduces Labor MP Margaret Hodge, author and columnist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, and broadcaster and journalist Ritula Shah.
Yasmin Alibhai-Brown: The Pitch (02:14)
Alibhai-Brown says that women will inevitably be in power, since they comprise more than half the population. She believes women will improve the tone of political debates, but cautions against female leaders championing war or implementing draconian policies.
Margaret Hodge: The Pitch (03:31)
Hodge is the 166th woman to be elected to the House of Commons. She argues that if Parliament became more representative of society, there would be less conflicts and violence. She and other female MPs tackled issues that would not have been addressed otherwise, such as childcare, maternity rights, and flexible work schedules.
Ritula Shah: The Pitch (02:03)
Shah admits that some female leaders thrive on conflict, but women have brought healthcare and education onto the political agenda. She believes a more representational government will not decrease violence, but rather include issues important to women.
Theme One: Do Men and Women in Power Act Differently? (02:52)
Alibhai-Brown argues that female leaders are judged based on how "masculine" they are, citing Theresa May's lack of empathy for immigrants coming on boats. She admits that she has different expectations for women in politics.
Female Parliamentary Working Styles (03:18)
Hodge cites Harriet Harman and Caroline Spelman as examples of building consensus across party lines, and argues that women work differently than men. She recalls responding to her teenage daughter’s “crisis” call during a House of Commons session.
Building Consensus (03:01)
Hodge led a successful Parliamentary committee consisting of both men and women. She believes machismo is often to blame for men refusing to cooperate in politics; male leaders stop listening to other opinions. Alibhai-Brown expresses disappointment in how women can behave towards other women.
Power Characteristics (02:24)
Alibhai-Brown objects to women in power acting "masculine." They are often seen as bitchy, whereas men are seen as leaders. Shah argues that certain traits are required for political success, regardless of gender.
Common Ground in Parliament (02:14)
Hodge engages male MPs in talking about their families, and tries to take a less aggressive approach to tough political questions. Committees chaired by women tend to have better quality responses.
Theme Two: Are Men to Blame for the World's Violence? (04:30)
Alibhai-Brown believes female politicians feel pressured by male colleagues to support wars, and men are taught to be aggressive by their mothers. Shah says boys and girls should be equally encouraged to become leaders in school. As a mother of two sons, she tries to be both capable and emotionally available.
Glass Ceiling (04:36)
Male politicians often take credit for social policies benefiting women and children. Alibhai-Brown discusses how women's work can be sidelined in academia. Hodge discusses networking and mentoring young women entering politics. Shah argues that men must be willing to help domestically, to level the playing field.
Theme Three: What Would a World with Women in Power Look Like? (03:31)
Alibhai-Brown argues that female leaders like Theresa May should adopt values of compassion and human rights. She worries that young women are withdrawing from feminism in favor of traditional domestic roles.
Majority Female Parliament Scenario (03:36)
Hodge imagines the House of Commons would be more colorful, consensus building, frugal, and grounded in reality if most MPs were women. She gives examples of the Labor Party approving aircraft carriers without a budget allocation, and of underfunded childcare programs.
Female Political Empowerment (03:04)
Shah questions whether a majority female Parliament would be less aggressive than male counterparts. Hodge says that women work well at building consensus in the House of Commons. They agree that the agenda would change.
Gender Equality Examples (02:54)
Alibhai-Brown describes a boss that took no maternity leave after giving birth, and had no empathy for female employees. She credits men that support their partners and discusses matriarchal societies in Vietnam.
Credits: Running the World Differently: What if Women Were in Power (00:06)
Credits: Running the World Differently: What if Women Were in Power
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