A recent cry of surprise has gone up from pundits over the recent election of so many women as mayors of our cities. In a recent NPQ article, Cyndi Suarez reported the following election results:
Manchester ousted a male incumbent to elect Joyce Craig, the first female mayor in the city’s 266-year history…Provo elected the first woman to ever even file to run for mayor, Michelle Kaufusi. Framingham, Massachusetts, which just voted to become a city in April, elected Yvonne Spicer as its first ever mayor—and she’s a black woman. In April, St. Louis elected Lyda Krewson as its first female mayor; earlier this month, Canada’s Montreal made its own history, electing Valerie Plante; and on November 18, New Orleans will elect either LaToya Cantrell or Desiree Charbonnet as its first, as well. In Topeka, Kansas, Michelle De La Isla, who was born in New York and raised in Puerto Rico, was elected mayor.
Why is This Happening?
Everybody is asking, “Why is this happening now? Why so many unlikely women being elected to unexpected leadership positions? This week, for example, Seattle elected Jenny Durkan its first woman mayor in 90 years. Jenny also happens to be its first openly lesbian mayor.
As usual, speculation abounds. Some believe that not only do voters want to “throw the bums out”, they want to “throw the men out.” Some democratic analysts believe that the Trump affect is causing voters to throw Republicans out and democratic women went along for the ride.
It’s No Surprise to Us
Those of us who work with a preponderance of women leaders every day in the social service and nonprofit world, know better. Daily interaction with women executives has taught us that in areas where women have the most concern they emerge as the leaders. Women have always been the leaders when it comes to caring for the sick or educating the children or aiding the less fortunate. Women, for the most part, could care less about the price range of this or that technology stock, or the batting average of a young baseball star, or the number of gigabytes in their hard drive. The petty concerns of men do not engage the passions of thoughtful women. That’s why they haven’t run for elected office up until now.
Why now? Because men have made an awful muck of it, and they just can’t stand by and watch our social order go down the drain. The great political curmudgeon of the 1920s and 30s, H.L. Mencken, put it like this:
Women, in fact, are the supreme realists of the race. Apparently illogical, they are the possessors of a rare and subtle super-logic. Apparently whimsical, they hang to the truth with a tenacity which carries them through every phase of its incessant jelly-like shifting of form. Apparently unobservant and easily deceived, they see with bright and horrible eyes…
The reason that so many women have been elected mayors of our cities is simply that women have decided it’s time for them to step in, and the voters apparently agree.