It has been another bad inning for male leadership. Besides the hourly flatulence of Trumpian twitterings and the addition of Brazil’s Bolsonaro to the confederacy of bullyboy power, we have been treated to a second wave of masculine mayhem. The reputations of the Patriots owner Robert Kraft, R. Kelly, the philanthropist Michael Steinhardt and even the sainted co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center, Morris Dees, are the latest to circle the drain. As Harvard’s Cornel West recently observed to Anderson Cooper, “The brothers are just out of control.”
Can women save the world? A ripped Captain Marvel can rescue us from intergalactic enemies, but down here on planet Earth a new paradigm of female leadership is emerging. A year ago, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand was famous for being a world leader who gave birth while in office. Then came the slaughter in the Christchurch mosques and overnight the gravitas in her angular face beneath a hijab became an iconic image of global humanity. As women across New Zealand emulated her gesture of solidarity by donning head scarves, the Arab world took note. A portrait of Ms. Ardern was projected across the world’s tallest building, Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, with the word “Peace” emblazoned above it in English and Arabic.
Countries from Georgia to Ethiopia have recently elected their first female presidents. Women now lead industries where once the thin air was inhaled only by men. For the first time, women have the top jobs at the New York Stock Exchange and at Nasdaq. With the ascension of Kathy Warden to C.E.O. of Northrop Grumman in January, four out of five of America’s biggest defense companies are run by women. Chicago is about to get its first black female mayor, and the Democratic leading light Stacey Abrams just drew a line in the sand when she squelched the idea of running for vice president with the crisp rejoinder, “You don’t run for second place.”