Monday, September 22, 2008

Women In Government

From the spate of recent articles in the various newspapers worldwide, both Israel and Japan look set to have a female in the top job.

Times of India:
"Israel’s foreign minister declared victory on Thursday in a tight race to replace Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as the head of the governing party, getting a chance to be the country’s first female leader in 34 years.

Tzipi Livni, 50, said she would immediately turn to the task of trying to cobble together a new government.

“The national responsibility (bestowed) by the public brings me to approach this job with great awe,” Livni said.

Official results showed Livni winning by a 1.1 percentage point margin in the Kadima Party primary elections — a far narrower victory than the double-digit romp polls had predicted.

Livni, a political moderate, barely edged out hawkish rival Shaul Mofaz, a former defense minister, in a contest that could have far-reaching implications for peacemaking with the Palestinians and Syria.

If she succeeds, she will become Israel’s first female prime minister since Golda Meir stepped down in 1974. If she fails, the country will hold elections in early 2009, a year and a half ahead of schedule. "

From The Star Tribune and
"Even as a long-shot candidate for prime minister, Yuriko Koike is making waves in Japan, where women in high places remain rare.

The 56-year-old former defense minister is the first female candidate to run for the head of Japan's ruling party — a post that brings with it the prime ministership.

The favorite in Monday's party vote is former Foreign Minister Taro Aso, one of four men in the running, but Koike's candidacy has symbolic importance.

Koike is the candidate most feared by the opposition Democratic Party of Japan, said Soichiro Tahara, host of a TV news show.

"She is the first woman candidate. Being the first — that has tremendous impact," he said recently at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan.

Koike herself is a former TV anchorwoman, a smooth talker who is fluent in Arabic and familiar with international affairs."

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