Opinion: A Response To The BTV Video, ‘Where Are The Female Leaders?’

Opinion by Joaquin Padilla

I have much to say about this video, as a male who watched the responses, and someone who has done a lot of personal research in the social and political sciences. Many of the responses were of a very sexually condescending nature and used flawed logical and factual reasoning – testosterone levels are in no way correlated with assertiveness. Keep in mind that women have to bear children and are biologically built for this daunting task. Much of the assertiveness factors in humans are controlled by the adrenal glands and interpreted by the brain – but assertiveness is primarily a learned and developed trait. What testosterone promotes in males is AGGRESSIVENESS, not assertiveness. They are very different concepts. Women can be equally assertive as men in many contexts.

Secondly, since when were “assertiveness” and “attractiveness” criteria for evaluating leaders? Leadership is defined as the ability to lead. Power is defined as the ability to influence – this is more closely related to the first two factors than leadership is. Even so, attainment of power is very much unrelated to physical attractiveness (the kind implied by the respondents.) The concepts of leadership and power are not synonymous. One can be a very good leader without a lot of attained power. One does not have to be Instagram-perfect or captain of the varsity soccer team to be an effective leader – they must be able to integrate viewpoints and serve as a model for others.

The responses to the survey questions to this video showcase to the community how prejudiced some still are. However, I believe that [the video] should still be kept up – to show the kinds of divisions that still run deep within people. We should be moving past gender – this is the 21st century! Women can lead, and they can lead well. Note the following names: Theresa May, Indira Gandhi, Elizabeth Warren, Malala Yousafzai etc. Women have driven history and politics everywhere – there is no evidence to suggest that their leadership is inferior to that of males. However, our school is slowly making needed progress – a female candidate won a vice presidential position for ISSBA. I am very happy females have stepped up to lead in our school!


http://executivesecretary.com/the-difference-between-assertive-and-aggressive/ – The difference between assertive and aggressive
https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/understanding-the-stress-response – Harvard Health – understanding the stress response
https://www.thoughtco.com/power-p2-3026460 – Power sociological definition