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09 June 2008

So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodnight...

… Hillary Clinton.  It was great having you in the running as the first female candidate for American President.  From across the Atlantic, and on my occasional visits to the US, I watched, listened and wondered whether America was really ready for a female leader.  When I read this article in the April 21st edition of “New York” magazine, in which the writer declared that: “… Hillary Clinton declared her candidacy, and the sexism in America, long lying dormant, like some feral, tranquilized animal, yawned and revealed itself …”,  I wondered even more.  Was a country where the opinion formers and influencers could reference the anti-Hillary Facebook group set up called “Stop Running for President and Make Me a Sandwich” and where rally attendees heckling and shouting “Iron my shirts!” was referred to as being “seemingly sexist”, (my italics) ever going to be open to electing a woman as the POTUS (the President Of The United States of America, as they always used to say in “The West Wing”)?   

Sadly, it seems not.  Amazing to realise that Hillary is the first female candidate to participate at this level of US election campaign since Geraldine Ferrarro ran as a Democratic Vice President nominee in 1984.

1984! 

We have young women in PwC, our future Partners, who weren’t even born in 1984.  We can only hope that organisations such as The White House Project and the changing weight of public opinion and demographic shifts means that we don’t have to wait another 24 years for the next Geraldine or Hillary,  from any US party.

Read Dr Lois Frankel’s open letter to Hillary on The Thin Pink Line site – it’s a great list of leadership lessons that we can take from this campaign, whatever the eventual outcome.

However, 8,000 miles away in South Africa, that country is lucky enough to have Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka as the Deputy President.  One of my earliest blog entries, back in October 2007, referenced the amazing speech that she made that week at the Women’s Forum in Deauville, France.  So imagine if you will how delighted I am to be able to confirm that she will be speaking at our Working Mother - South African Advancement of Women Global Town Hall event in two short months’ time.  What an honour to have the highest ranking woman in the history of South Africa joining us.

Back in the UK, a record number of women – 29% of this year’s intake – joined the PwC Partnership. This far exceeds the number admitted in any one year previously, so huge congratulations are offered to:

Stella Amiss; Katherine Bullock; Lesley Hill; Victoria Horrocks; Trusha Kachhela; Teresa  Owusu-Adjei; Elizabeth Stone; Honor Mallon; Jo Pisani; Madeleine Thomson; Carolyn Clarke; Sandra Dowling; Olivia Gillan; Sarah Isted; Vicky Kerrigan; Emma Schofield, and Catrin Thomas.

I also learned this week that PwC in the Philippines, led by a woman, has nineteen female Partners.

Excellent.

And seven male Partners.

Interesting!

I may need to don a deer-stalker hat and do some investigating into this statistical anomaly … watch this space.

Until next time –

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