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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A challenge to the men of our community

     In talking with Jean Moon for yesterday's profile blog I asked Jean about why she thought that the Women's Giving Circle of Howard County was so successful.  Her first response was related to the qualities of women that made them more sensitive to the needs of others and the desire of woman to bond in social groups. While these qualities also exist in men as seen in the Rotary, Kiwanis and other civic business groups the sensitivity to the broad issues of family and community in women give them some advantages in forming giving circles.
     This reality is seen in the campaigns to fund research into cancer.  Breast cancer research is funded at much higher levels than the deadly prostate cancer for men.  If only women had prostates too! There is no comparable funding campaigns for prostate cancer as there are for breast cancer.  No "blue ribbon campaigns" or walks for prostate cancer.  Even the National Football league has got on the bandwagon for breast cancer with NFL players and coaches wearing pink during games.  Just to be cynical this campaign is the reality that the NFL is probably more motivated by the their interest in marketing NFL apparel to women than for cancer research 
    We also see the reality of gender differences in what experiences men and women bring to elective office.  A study by Rutgers University looked at the backgrounds of both male and female elected officials and how it influenced their governing model.  Men tended to come from a business or law background that favored competition and confrontation as opposed to many women who came from much wider backgrounds--- many of which expose them to issues of the disadvantaged and the family.  Interestingly the differences between the genders become more pronounced as you move up the elective ladder.  The difference in the genders is smallest at the local level, increase at the state level and are most pronounced at the national level.  The difference in political orientation of female elected officials moves from more conservative to more liberal as you move up the elected official ladder.  This would seem to indicate that more liberal women see elected office as a career than conservative women. This reality is seen in a study by the Scholars Study Network that looked at the impact of women in elected office. The finding was described in this study like this:

"Female legislators have a stronger presence in states with more liberal electorates and more 
women in non-traditional social positions. Women are more likely to run for office in such 
settings and party leaders, voters, and interest groups are more willing to support them. "

      So my challenge to men in Howard County is to step forward and consider a Men's Giving Circle of Howard County.  Any one willing to step up to the plate on that one?

    Thanks to Ilana Bittner for this good advice from NPR:
Always go to the funeral.


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