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10 November 2008

On being wrong!

It’s rare for my first words upon waking to be:

“Who won?”

It’s even rarer for me to say, publicly, that I am delighted to be wrong.

But both instances occurred on Wednesday 5th November 2008, when I awoke to discover that Barack Obama had won the US election – thus making my then-quite-viable prediction of February 2008 (that he would be beaten by John McCain) completely, totally and comprehensively WRONG.

Excellent news.

(And doesn’t February seem like a lifetime ago, given the global and economic changes which have occurred since then?)

Although I was pretty surprised to receive several hundred emails from people who had read my prediction on here   and interpreted it as a “wish”, as in: “I want John McCain to win” – when it was actually – “I suspect that …” So, to those of you who emailed me to express your surprise that this was my apparent “wish”: not so. 

I am delighted with the outcome on many levels: that the American electorate has been brave enough to vote for character over colour and for change over tradition.  That America has a courageous new leader who embodies the hopes of millions.  That 56% of Obama’s votes were from women.  That so many of my female American friends and colleagues are pleased, happy and relieved.

And what of the women in the public eye? I do hope that the President-Elect can find a smart way in which to deploy Hillary Clinton and her undoubted talents - not only as a nod to the 18 million votes she won during the primary race, but also in recognition of her skills and experience.  It will be fascinating to see what Michelle Obama brings to the role of First Lady; I suspect that, with her enormous intellect and personality, she will redefine that role just as surely as her husband will be a new type of POTUS.  I’m sure that Sarah Palin will be glad to be back in her boots and jeans in Alaska while she considers her next move – and equally convinced that Tina Fey will be relieved of the need to deliver on her promise to “Leave Earth” if Palin became Vice President.   

I’ll be blogging towards the end of the year on my books of 2008 – let me know if you have any recommendations to share.  One novel which is sure to make it on to my Top 10 is “American Wife” by Curtis Sittenfeld, which I started over the weekend.  It’s a lightly-fictionalised story of the life of Laura Bush and is a compelling read, although I was annoyed to read a review of it in my recent Sunday paper which essentially gave away a plot twist – so no link to said review here. I also saw the film “W” a few weeks ago and it was actually, retrospectively, quite helpful context on the life of the real Laura Bush, although I doubt she’s delighted, as an essentially private person, to be portrayed either on screen or on the page, by Oliver Stone and Ms Sittenfeld.

This time next week, I will be in India, and I started taking my malaria tablets today.  I will be attending NASSCOM’s annual Women in Leadership Summit and speaking in a panel debate on creating competitive advancement through female inclusion.  I wish I had been organised enough to get around to creating some world tour t-shirts for Maureen Frank  and I, as she will also be in Bangalore, launching an Indian version of her excellent “My Mentor” toolkit.  To date, Maureen and I have worked together in New York, South Africa, Washington DC and now India. 

Here’s the NASSCOM logo, which they have kindly allowed me to share:

Nasscom

So my next blog session will come to you from either Delhi or Bangalore, where I will also be talking about the GAC film “Closing the Gender Gap”, as copies of the DVD will be given to all 500 of the summit’s attendees.  This is an interesting time to be visiting such a fascinating and vibrant country – we have two Indian participants in the film, from Tata and ICICI Bank, and the Gender Advisory Council’s Bharti Gupta Ramola has just been named one of “Business Today”’s 25 Most Powerful Women.

Until next time –

Cleo

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