According to the Worldwide Guide to Women in Leadership, women are currently serving as president, prime minister or chancellor of Ireland, Finland, Germany, Liberia, India, Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Iceland, Croatia, Lithuania, Kyrgyzstan, Costa Rica, Trinidad and Tobago, Slovakia and Brazil.
When else in human history have so many nations been led by so many women at the same time?
In his book, As a Peace-Loving Global Citizen, Rev. S.M. Moon writes:
“Throughout history, women have been persecuted, but I predict this will change. The coming world will one of reconciliation and peace based on women's maternal character, love, and sociability. The time is coming when the power of women will save the world.”
This is a rather wonderful and optimistic assertion. Can the motherliness and compassion for which women are often noted become effective enough to turn the world in a better direction? Are there enough women who are wise enough, capable enough and kind enough to make a difference, and can women rise in influence, not in competition with men, but working together with them to build a better earth?
Of course, skeptics might say that among the female members of the human family there are many examples of self-centered, silly, small-minded or power-hungry women.
Former first lady of the Philippines Imelda Marcos comes to mind. Catherine the Great of Russia does not seem to have much of a reputation for compassion, either.
And in today's world, there are far too many female celebrities who, failing to handle fame and wealth, have fallen prey to self-destructive living instead of setting healthy examples for the young.
But the same examples exist for the masculine gender. For every Snookie there is a Paulie.
On the other hand, there are many, many examples of women who have lived truly noble lives, sacrificing themselves for the sake of others. For example, Elisabeth I of England led her country with great wisdom. She avoided war with other European nations whenever possible, and when forced to, she prevented an invasion by Spain by defeating the Spanish Armada.
A somewhat more recent woman leader is Eleanor Roosevelt. She spent much of her life as a champion of children, women, and people struggling with poverty. Among her many accomplishments, she worked with the United Nations, helping in the founding of UNICEF and in the passage of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
There are scores of thousands of women living today whose caring, wisdom and determination are bringing better lives and more hope to others. Among countless examples is Ariel Zwang, the CEO of Safe Horizons, an organization that gives support and healing assistance to victims of human trafficking, child abuse and domestic violence. Safe Horizons helps hundreds of thousands of such victims each year.
For thousands of years, the world has for the most part, been male-dominated.
To what extent is it possible for women to rise to positions of influence?
Is it possible that young, university educated women and men in countries such as Saudi Arabia or even Iran, will eventually succeed in reforming their societies? Will women be acknowledged in their rights to vote, to own property, and to hold public office?
Moreover, could such women, and men, help redirect the more radical elements of Islam towards the compassionate and peaceful faith practiced by the majority of Moslem believers?
This may seem like asking a great deal. But one can never underestimate the power of education, faith, determination or women.