Women and Power: The sacrifice of Aung San Suu Kyi – how many women would make it?
Yes, it’s true – women can handle power better than men – the question is, do they want it sufficiently? Aung San Suu Kyi wants it badly enough to have sacrificed her own family life and suffer house arrest and harassment by the old, power-addled men of Burma.
Democracy was invented to reduce the corrupting effects of power on the brain. Without legal, constitutional and journalistic controls constraining power of leaders, every leader would become corrupted by power, and the resulting brain changes are as great as those caused by any drug addiction.
And this would be true for Aung San Suu Kyi if she were ever to become a dictator in Burma without constitutional or democratic controls – she would go the same way as the elderly generals. Women’s brains undergo the same changes as mens’s when given power, but they may be a little more protected from its brain-distorting effects.
While it is unlikely that Aung San Suu Kyi would allow herself to become a dictator,there is always the risk of a personality cult in a country with few civic mechanisms on which to build government.
But for sure we need more women in powerful positions in the world – from the government of Burma to the board of Goldman Sachs – because they are a little bit innoculated against its addictive and brain-changing effects.
But the question is – do they want it? Power is stressful and powerful people give up many things in life. Like many male leaders, Aung San Suu Kyi sacrificed her family. How many women are prepared to do that and is that one reason why men are given such free reign to wreak havoc in the world?