The first Real Housewives series, The Real Housewives of Orange County, premiered in March 2006. Since then they have added a city by city rendition and we have watched the dramatism of their urban lives play out on television season after season. The portrayal of women in reality TV gives the wrong impression. It reinforces stereotypes of women as overly-emotional and lacking the ability to think rationally.
In a recent article published yesterday in the New York Times That Mystery Woman in North Korea? Turns Out She’s the First Lady, it discusses Ri Sol-ju’s sudden appearance in the spotlight. The article goes on to state that, “North Korea’s first family was not always hidden from view. The veil of privacy descended after Kim Jong-il was designated as his father’s successor in the mid-1970s.” In addition, the article makes a note, “It is also a matter of dispute how important the wives and female companions of North Korean leaders are.”
First Lady Michelle Obama has been a very visible figure through-out her husbands’ presidency with her obesity campaign and has been noted for her stylish dress.
Prince Williams marriage to Kate Middleton was watched by millions and made frontpages around the globe. Kate has also been revered for her fashion sense as well.
While good fashion and fighting obesity go hand and hand, there are a number of issues that women face and are capable of leading on. For example, the gender pay gap needs to end. It has been found that according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s , “Across industrialized countries, men’s median, full-time earnings were 17.6 percent higher than women’s.”
The question that I would raise to readers of Polite On Society is: Do wives of elected officials have power or are they merely housewives?and, Are they influential public figures with the capability of making decisions from the top?
The women’s ability to lead and take authority has been challenged for decades long. The back and forth over women’s right to lead has stymied efforts to increase the status of women worldwide. In addition the portrayal of women in the media has played a significant role in the undermining of women in leadership roles.
Governments and businesses need to take into account the value that women could and do provide to global leadership and the difference that it would make given the opportunity.