BOSTON (CBS) – “We are witnessing right now an empowerment revolution,” said Gretchen Carlson, the former Fox News anchor whose sexual harassment lawsuit against the network was a preview of the recent #metoo uprising against workplace harassment.
And now, Carlson has become the latest story in an outgrowth of that revolution – women replacing the men ousted in the backlash.
A former Miss America (1989), Carlson will take over as director of the Miss America organization after several top male leaders there were forced to resign over sexist language they used to demean contestants.
Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose, Sen. Al Franken – all have been succeeded by women. But will that trend really make a difference in deterring toxic male behavior?
The frat-house website Barstool Sports isn’t noticeably more mature under the leadership of Erika Nardini. And keep in mind that the notion of women as more nurturing and less violent than men, and thus, female political leaders are less likely to go to war than their male counterparts, is challenged by history.
A study of European conflicts from the 15th through the 18th century found queens were 27% more likely than kings to go to war.
And from Britain’s Margaret Thatcher to Indira Ghandi of India to Obama-era hawk Hillary Clinton, modern history is full of proof that gender stereotypes only go so far.
Will this influx of women into jobs previously held by harassment-enablers clean the mess up? In the short term, expect a zero-tolerance policy from the likes of Carlson.
And in the long-term? Heed the lessons of history, and wait and see.