Religion Magazine

Why Some Say Women Can't Lead

By Gldmeier @gldmeier
Kikar is running an editorial by Dov Habertal, some sort of provocative Haredi spokesperson/writer/media-personality.
I generally stay away from commenting on editorials, as every person is entitled to his or her own opinions, no matter who right or wrong it might be, and unless that person is in a position of power of some sort, his or her opinion is really not all that important, or perhaps significant, that I must comment on it (nor is my comment so important that it should be deemed necessary)...
Halbertal, writing about the recent USA presidential elections, says he is happy that Clinton lost - not because she is an anti-semite or anti-Israel or corrupt or any of the other reasons about half of America voted against her. Halbertal explains that a woman can be prime minister of a country, perhaps, but not President of the USA.
The argument against woman ruling a country, he says, is not simple, as a number of large countries are led by women (e.g. England, Germany, Argentina, Brazil, among others). However, ruling the world is a different story and is worth consideration.
However, his problem with Clinton isn't really that. Halbertal says that even if women could rule, it is an ethical problem to put them in such a position. According to Halbertal women have no ethical right to rule. Why? Because they do not partake in the public burden.
why some say women can't leadHalbertal's argument, that women do not partake in and share in the public burden is based on the fact that women do not serve in armies around the world and those who fall in battle are en. So, it is immoral for a woman to send them to battle in which some non-women may fall. Construction sites around the world are filled with male construction workers, and the person sending people off to such backbreaking work should not be a woman. A woman should not be a mayor of a city sending men off, and only men, to collect the garbage of the city.
At the end Halbertal explains that he is against the "hyper-feminism" of Clinton who wants the women to rule the world and the men to collect the garbage and fall in battle.
I had a couple of thoughts reading this:
1. this sounded very similar to the arguments in Israel around the issues of the Haredi community - such as do they deserve equal benefits in society when they do not share the burden of their childrne falling in battle and working and boosting the Israeli economy? Halbertal, and most Haredim, would reject such arguments made against the Haredi community in an attempt to strip them of equal rights, yet he makes those arguments to say it is unethical for a woman to have the same rights as men.
2. Halbertal seems to be a bit behind the times. In many armies around the world, and surely in the USA, women do serve in the army and fight in battles alongside men. Men might very well still be the majority of soldiers, but the numbers of women joining the army and taking an equal part in society are regularly increasing.
3. It is a bit disingenuous to say that women don't serve and don't work equally with men so cannot ethically be leaders, when you yourself oppose them serving equally and sharing that burden. Meaning, the Haredi community and its leaders are opposed to women serving in the army and being too involved in having careers outside the home and often against even getting educated with degrees and obtaining professions. While that does not influence the global ethics of leadership as it does not influence women around the globe in what they decide to study, work in or where to serve, it does seem, to me at least, to be unfair to try to hold women down and prevent them from doing everything they and society wants them to do to be on a more equal footing with men and then saying that because they are not societally on an equal footing with men they can also not do other things. Give them free reign of their own decisions and abilities to do whatever they want and then see where they go, and then decide if they take up equal positions in society or not and if letting them lead is ethical or not.
Those are my thoughts on Halbertal's comments
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