Inquirer columnist Winnie Monsod MISLEADS her readers into thinking that women make better national leaders

I have nothing against women. Hell I love women. Period. I worship at the altar of the woman that is her body and soul. That’s how much I love women. The adage that you can’t beat them, can’t live without them is true; depending on how much bullshit you are willing to accept. To say however that “Women-led countries do better against COVID-19” as Winnie Monsod assets in her Inquirer piece is a dishonest stretch. Indeed, considering she is an “economist” Monsod commits the biggest sin of “data science” — equating correlation with causation…

Summary statistics: The mean (average) number of COVID-19 cases for the period under consideration was 19,064 for the F-led countries and 26,468 for the M-led countries; the mean number of deaths was 1,107 and 2,681, respectively. That’s what the raw figures showed. So on the face of it, the female-led countries experienced fewer cases and fewer deaths.

The backgrounder to this, she writes, is a study conducted — by women, she makes sure to point out — following “the big deal media made over the relative success of seven women leaders–Frederiksen of Denmark, Marin of Finland, Merkel of Germany, Jakobsdóttir of Iceland, Ardern of New Zealand, Solberg of Norway, and Tsai of Taiwan–on their performance (number of deaths per 1,000) in dealing with COVID-19”.

See, just because “statistics” show that “female-led countries experienced fewer cases and fewer deaths” does not necessarily mean female leadership is a cause of better COVID-19 pandemic management outcomes. That fact, of course, does not stop Monsod from issuing her shrill conclusion, that “women leaders have steered their countries more successfully in dealing with the COVID-19 crisis.”

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As if that were not enough to seriously mislead her readers, Monsod reveals the true agenda of this blurb at the end: “Women like Vice President Leni Robredo and Sen. Leila de Lima, who have shown their worth, have been very badly treated by this government. We, the Filipino people, have to correct this situation. Soonest.” Mareng Winnie, you are predictable, as always.

The idea that Leni Robredo and Leila De Lima are at par with the likes of Angela Merkel is a reach. An overreach, in fact. A friend and I have been discussing what truly ails the Filipino. We’ve come to an agreement that it is basically a socio-cultural dysfunction. Some psychological too. The definition of success is moving over to the other side of the social divide under the general classification of the haves and the have-nots. Women have been stereotyped as the weaker sex. I truly believe this is not true. How many men have been taken down by women? A lot. The casualty count is high.

The Philippines is, contrary to tradition, a matriarchal society. Look at PNoy and Duterte. Both had strong women for their mothers. Yet both are a contrast in character and personality. I have always been for gender equality. I don’t have any qualms about the sexual proclivities of Leila De Lima and Leni Robredo. It becomes an issue because of the standards they have to comply with as public officials. De Lima initially denied her relationship with her driver cum bodyguard. She admitted to it later on on Mareng Winnie’s program. Robredo continues to deny her relationship with Bolet Banal even if it is obvious. This is plain and simple hypocrisy.

Both cannot measure up to Angela Merkel who is one of the longest-reigning German Chancellors. She succeeded Helmut Kohl at a time when Germany faced the difficulty of reunification. She took the mantle of leadership for the European Union in addition to her leading the Germans. She took on the likes of Russia’s Vladimir Putin and other European contemporaries during her term. She has kept her simple lifestyle all throughout.

One of the reasons why we fail as a country is our love for status symbols. We don’t have an efficient mass transport system because a vehicle is a status symbol. The public is enamored with celebrities. This is how Lito Lapid and Bong Revilla landed in the Senate. Millennials haven’t come to the realization that this is a bad practice because they indulge in the same. They cater to the establishment for job opportunities and security. In the process, morality and ethics are thrown out the window. Fake it until you make it replaces the maxim of continuing education and hard work as pathways to success. Post-graduate degrees are sold and bought openly in public educational institutions. Since President Ferdinand Marcos was ousted, we have progressively become a nation of morons. Professionalism is practiced by only a few. The same is true with civility.

Monsod obviously favors De Lima and Robredo because they are in the opposition. If there is any female deserving of Monsod’s accolades, it should be Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. She ousted a popularly-elected President and instituted fiscal and economic reforms which laid the groundwork for growth. She kept her silence throughout the five years she was detained by PNoy. She ousted the sitting Speaker of the House even if she had less than a year left in her term as Congresswoman. She continues to play the role of kingmaker in the political scene.

What is wrong with the country isn’t only about the political structure but also the socio-cultural hierarchy. There is no concept of equality and equanimity. We have no right to know about how De Lima and Robredo conduct themselves in the privacy of their bedrooms but as public officials, there is a minimum standard they should comply with which they are both guilty of violating not only as public officials but as members of the Philippine bar as well.

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