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Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders?

Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders? | Gender and Crime | Scoop.it

There are three popular explanations for the clear under-representation of women in management, namely: (1) they are not capable; (2) they are not interested; (3) they are both interested and capable but unable to break the glass-ceiling: an invisible career barrier, based on prejudiced stereotypes, that prevents women from accessing the ranks of power. Conservatives and chauvinists tend to endorse the first; liberals and feminists prefer the third; and those somewhere in the middle are usually drawn to the second. But what if they all missed the big picture?

In my view, the main reason for the uneven management sex ratio is our inability to discern between confidence and competence. That is, because we (people in general) commonly misinterpret displays of confidence as a sign of competence, we are fooled into believing that men are better leaders than women. In other words, when it comes to leadership, the only advantage that men have over women (e.g., from Argentina to Norway and the USA to Japan) is the fact that manifestations of hubris — often masked as charisma or charm — are commonly mistaken for leadership potential, and that these occur much more frequently in men than in women.

This is consistent with the finding that leaderless groups have a natural tendency to elect self-centered, overconfident and narcissistic individuals as leaders, and that these personality characteristics are not equally common in men and women. In line, Freud argued that the psychological process of leadership occurs because a group of people — the followers — have replaced their own narcissistic tendencies with those of the leader, such that their love for the leader is a disguised form of self-love, or a substitute for their inability to love themselves. “Another person’s narcissism”, he said, “has a great attraction for those who have renounced part of their own… as if we envied them for maintaining a blissful state of mind.”

The truth of the matter is that pretty much anywhere in the world men tend to think that they that are much smarter than women. Yet arrogance and overconfidence are inversely related to leadership talent — the ability to build and maintain high-performing teams, and to inspire followers to set aside their selfish agendas in order to work for the common interest of the group. Indeed, whether in sports, politics or business, the best leaders are usually humble — and whether through nature or nurture, humility is a much more common feature in women than men. For example, women outperform men on emotional intelligence, which is a strong driver of modest behaviors. Furthermore, a quantitative review of gender differences in personality involving more than 23,000 participants in 26 cultures indicated that women are more sensitive, considerate, and humble than men, which is arguably one of the least counter-intuitive findings in the social sciences. An even clearer picture emerges when one examines the dark side of personality: for instance, our normative data, which includes thousands of managers from across all industry sectors and 40 countries, shows that men are consistently more arrogant, manipulative and risk-prone than women.

The paradoxical implication is that the same psychological characteristics that enable male managers to rise to the top of the corporate or political ladder are actually responsible for their downfall. In other words, what it takes to get the job is not just different from, but also the reverse of, what it takes to do the job well. As a result, too many incompetent people are promoted to management jobs, and promoted over more competent people.

Unsurprisingly, the mythical image of a “leader” embodies many of the characteristics commonly found in personality disorders, such as narcissism (Steve Jobs or Vladimir Putin), psychopathy (fill in the name of your favorite despot here), histrionic (Richard Branson or Steve Ballmer) or Machiavellian (nearly any federal-level politician) personalities. The sad thing is not that these mythical figures are unrepresentative of the average manager, but that the average manager will fail precisely for having these characteristics.

In fact, most leaders — whether in politics or business — fail. That has always been the case: the majority of nations, companies, societies and organizations are poorly managed, as indicated by their longevity, revenues, and approval ratings, or by the effects they have on their citizens, employees, subordinates or members. Good leadership has always been the exception, not the norm.

So it struck me as a little odd that so much of the recent debate over getting women to “lean in” has focused on getting them to adopt more of these dysfunctional leadership traits. Yes, these are the people we often choose as our leaders — but should they be?

Most of the character traits that are truly advantageous for effective leadership are predominantly found in those who fail to impress others about their talent for management. This is especially true for women. There is now compelling scientific evidence for the notion that women are more likely to adopt more effective leadership strategies than do men. Most notably, in a comprehensive review of studies, Alice Eagly and colleagues showed that female managers are more likely to elicit respect and pride from their followers, communicate their vision effectively, empower and mentor subordinates, and approach problem-solving in a more flexible and creative way (all characteristics of “transformational leadership”), as well as fairly reward direct reports. In contrast, male managers are statistically less likely to bond or connect with their subordinates, and they are relatively more inept at rewarding them for their actual performance. Although these findings may reflect a sampling bias that requires women to be more qualified and competent than men in order to be chosen as leaders, there is no way of really knowing until this bias is eliminated.

In sum, there is no denying that women’s path to leadership positions is paved with many barriers including a very thick glass ceiling. But a much bigger problem is the lack of career obstacles for incompetent men, and the fact that we tend to equate leadership with the very psychological features that make the average man a more inept leader than the average woman. The result is a pathological system that rewards men for their incompetence while punishing women for their competence, to everybody’s detriment.

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Open Future Gender

Open Future Gender | Gender and Crime | Scoop.it
The Economist offers authoritative insight and opinion on international news, politics, business, finance, science, technology and the connections between them.
Rob Duke's insight:

With registration of your email, you can see 3 economist articles a week.

I subscribe, so I'll post many of these articles here on scoop.it for the class, but this series is grouped, thus I let you pick and choose the articles that are of interest to you.

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Body of missing mom found as search continues for daughters

Body of missing mom found as search continues for daughters | Gender and Crime | Scoop.it

Body of missing mom found as search for daughters continues
By Joshua Rhett Miller August 16, 2018 | 1:58pm | Updated
Modal Trigger

Christopher Watts and Shanann Watts Facebook
The body of a pregnant woman whose husband pleaded on TV news for her safe return has been found, authorities said Thursday.

John Camper, director of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, said authorities have recovered a body believed to be that of Shanann Watts, 34, who was reported missing on Monday along with the couple’s two daughters, 3-year-old Celeste and 4-year-old Bella. The announcement comes just hours after her husband, Christopher Watts, 33, was arrested.

“This is absolutely the worst possible outcome that any of us could possibly imagine,” Camper told reporters during a press conference. “And I think our hearts are broken for the town of Frederick as much as anybody.”

Camper confirmed that Shanann Watts’ body had been located on property belonging to Anadarko Petroleum. A spokesman for the Texas-based company told KMGH that Christopher Watts had worked for the firm, but was no longer employed there as of Thursday.

Investigators have “strong reason” to believe they know where the bodies of Watts’ children are located and are in the process of recovering them, Camper said.

Authorities declined to discuss a possible motive in the alleged triple killing during Thursday’s news conference, as well as how they believe Shanann Watts and her daughters were killed and whether Christopher Watts has been cooperative with investigators.

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UCI medical school doctor pleads not guilty after being accused of secretly filming people in his home bathroom

A doctor in the UC Irvine School of Medicine pleaded not guilty Friday to charges stemming from allegations that he secretly filmed people in the bathroom of his home in Orange. 
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Jack In The Box Under Fire For Sexually Charged Ad « CBS Dallas / Fort Worth

Jack In The Box Under Fire For Sexually Charged Ad « CBS Dallas / Fort Worth | Gender and Crime | Scoop.it
Burger chain Jack in the Box is under fire for a sexual innuendo-laden TV commercial to promote a new menu offering.
Rob Duke's insight:

Hmm...20 years...and we've changed so much in the U.S.  This is SNL's Schweddy Balls skit from 1998:

 

https://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/nprs-delicious-dish-schweddy-balls/3505994

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Chicago Megachurch Leadership Resigns Over Sexual Harassment Scandal

Chicago Megachurch Leadership Resigns Over Sexual Harassment Scandal | Gender and Crime | Scoop.it
They apologized for not initially backing the women who accused the founding pastor of misconduct.
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Sexual Assault Case Highlights BYU Honor Code Amnesty Loophole - Campus Safety

Sexual Assault Case Highlights BYU Honor Code Amnesty Loophole - Campus Safety | Gender and Crime | Scoop.it
Bishops can revoke a student’s endorsement at any time, which results in the expulsion of a student from school. Critics say this is a loophole in BYU’s amnesty policy, which can be exploited by abusers who have compromising information on their victims. This could discourage victims from reporting what happened to them and getting the help they need.

“What’s the message you’re sending to people who want to report that they’ve been assaulted? It says to folks, ‘Don’t come forward because you’re going to be punished — in another system, but nonetheless, you’re going to be punished, ’” Margolis Healy Co-Founder Steven Healy told the Salt Lake Tribune.
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Slaying suspect claims he killed 6 others | Don't Miss This | heraldbulletin.com

Slaying suspect claims he killed 6 others | Don't Miss This | heraldbulletin.com | Gender and Crime | Scoop.it
A slaying suspect dropped a bombshell on investigators.

Danueal Drayton - who was arrested in North Hollywood last week - was suspected of killing Samantha Stewart in New York earlier this month before fleeing that state. He later claimed that he killed six other people.

Drayton pleaded not guilty on Monday to attempted murder of a North Hollywood woman. He is being held on $1.5 million bond.

In New York, Drayton was charged with Stewart’s murder, in addition to the rape of a 23-year-old woman in Brooklyn.

Investigators said that before he was arrested by a joint New York-New Jersey police task force on July 23, he was holding a 28-year-old woman captive after trying to kill her and faces charges in that case, including attempted murder and rape.

Police said he met his victim on an online dating service.

Also, the New York Daily News reported that Drayton has confessed to detectives, saying he's committed two murders in Connecticut, one in the Bronx, one in Suffolk County, one in either Queens or Nassau County, all in New York, and possibly one in California.
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Father sentenced in 2016 stabbing death of daughter in North Hollywood - The Homicide Report - Los Angeles Times

Father sentenced in 2016 stabbing death of daughter in North Hollywood - The Homicide Report - Los Angeles Times | Gender and Crime | Scoop.it
A father was sentenced to 21 years to life in prison for stabbing his 1-year-old daughter to death in the North Hollywood apartment they shared, setting the room on fire, then jumping out the window, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.

Noe Torres, 50, pleaded no contest July 20 to second-degree murder and arson and was sentenced immediately, prosecutors said. As part of a plea agreement, Torres also admitted to using a knife to kill his daughter, Rosario Torres.

Prosecutors said that on Oct. 21, Torres stabbed his daughter during an argument with the child's mother in the 13100 block of Vanowen Street.
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Marie Laguerre, catcalling video: Laws banning street harassment won’t stop the practice in France or the U.S.

Marie Laguerre, catcalling video: Laws banning street harassment won’t stop the practice in France or the U.S. | Gender and Crime | Scoop.it
On Wednesday, French lawmakers approved a new law prohibiting gender-based street harassment, threatening catcallers with 90 to 750 euro fines for subjecting women to sexist or sexually degrading comments in public spaces. The law was first proposed last year in the midst of the #BalanceTonPorc (#SquealOnYourPig) movement, the French analog to #MeToo, but gained urgency last week after a viral video showed a man physically assaulting a young woman in Paris after she told him to stop harassing her.

The woman, 22-year-old Marie Laguerre, got security footage from the café where her assault took place and posted it to Facebook. The video shows Laguerre telling the man to “Shut up” after he reportedly whistled at her; he then throws an ashtray at her, walks around the tables, and punches her in the head. Laguerre ended her post with the hashtag #NousToutes (#WeAll), and has started a website called Nous Toutes Harcèlement (We Are All Harassed) where other women can share their stories of sexual harassment.
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Indiana boy dies after mistaking dad's meth for breakfast cereal

Indiana boy dies after mistaking dad's meth for breakfast cereal | Gender and Crime | Scoop.it
A hungry Indiana child died after eating 180 times the lethal amount of methamphetamine — which he thought was a breakfast cereal, according to reports. Eight-year-old Curtis Collman III woke…
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William Kelley's comment, August 6, 12:28 AM
I can believe that the child was not supervised by the father, however, I find it difficult to believe that the father left that much meth unsupervised.
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Supply chains based on modern slavery may reach into the West - Daily chart

Supply chains based on modern slavery may reach into the West - Daily chart | Gender and Crime | Scoop.it

IN THEORY slavery was completely abolished in 1981, when Mauritania became the last country to outlaw forced labour. In practice, however, it persists in many forms, some of them surprisingly blatant. In November CNN broadcast a grainy video depicting the auction of 12 migrant Nigerian men for farm work. When human trafficking and less extreme forms of coercion are included, slavery-like practices remain disturbingly common.

Modern slavery is often seen as a problem that is limited to poor countries. However, forced labour in the developing world feeds into supply chains that lead to the West. In its 2018 report on global slavery, the Walk Free Foundation, a campaign group, examined supply chains in the G20 group of large economies. Its aim was to work out which countries use which policies against exploitation. The G20 accounts for three-quarters of global trade. However, only seven of its members have rules to lower the risk that goods and services are sourced from forced labour. 

To work out which supply chains are most at risk of abuse, the report’s authors trawled through an official American list of goods produced by forced labour. They also scoured data from NGOs, academic papers and government agencies in order to catalogue the source of “at-risk” goods from countries supplying the G20. In terms of import value, the industries most affected are computers and mobile phones, clothing, fishing, cocoa and sugarcane. 

Many countries present clear-cut illustrations of modern slavery. China imports $1bn-worth of coal a year from North Korea, dug out by miners who toil because of an inherited-worker status rather than out of choice (a tenth of North Korea’s population is thought to be forced to work for the state). The cotton industry in Central Asia depends on migrant labourers; in Turkmenistan tens of thousands of people are forced to pick cotton to fulfil state production quotas. India’s huge brickmaking industry in Andhra Pradesh relies on families working in bonded labour.


The United States has done the most to curb modern slavery in its supply chains. Executive orders ensure that government contractors take measures to eliminate abuses. Brazil has a “dirty list”, which publicises firms found to be using forms of modern slavery and blacklists them from public tenders. The European Union promotes socially responsible public procurement, and encourages member countries agreeing to government procurement deals in foreign countries to take local social conditions into account.
Nonetheless, such policies only work if they are enforced. And there is good reason to think that more stringent controls are needed. A survey in 2017 by the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply found that only 6% of managers at British firms were certain their supply chains are untainted by modern slavery.

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Grocery chain Carrefour Argentina under fire for 'sexist' campaign | Euronews

Grocery chain Carrefour Argentina under fire for 'sexist' campaign | Euronews | Gender and Crime | Scoop.it

Supermarket chain Carrefour in Argentina is under fire for a campaign dubbed as "sexist" has garnered a lot of attention after outraged store-goers posted photos of it on social media.

One of the ads, which advertised Children’s Day ahead of the August 19 holiday, shows a picture of a boy in a race car accompanied by the words “With ‘C’ of Champion” and a picture of a girl behind a play cooking station accompanied by the words “With ‘C’ of Cook.”

Another ad similarly calls the boy a constructor, and the girl a "coqueta," a word that carries the connotation of a girl who is a flirt.

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Lies and cover-ups: Catholic church in Pennsylvania had 'playbook' to keep priest abuse secret, FBI said

Lies and cover-ups: Catholic church in Pennsylvania had 'playbook' to keep priest abuse secret, FBI said | Gender and Crime | Scoop.it
The FBI concluded that it was "as if there was script" for church and diocese officials to follow to keep the crimes that priests committed a secret.
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Changing the concept of “woman” will cause unintended harms - Open Future

Changing the concept of “woman” will cause unintended harms - Open Future | Gender and Crime | Scoop.it

What are concepts for? At least: for categorising things into useful groups. Concepts tell us what gets included and what doesn’t: for instance, books don’t normally get into the category of plates. This isn’t “exclusionary” in any sinister sense. 

Some philosophers do “conceptual analysis”: roughly, tracking our current concept use and its implications. Let’s focus on the sentence “trans women are women”. It’s occasionally said that this is already widely accepted as an implication of the current public concept of “woman”. Certainly, some speakers sincerely believe it, but still, I think, the usage hasn’t spread widely enough for this to be persuasive. Most use trans people’s preferred pronouns and names, but arguably this only shows a wish, which I share, to be compassionate and respectful. It’s also true that British law recognises trans women as women, but again, this was not intended to settle conceptual disputes but to alleviate discrimination against trans people.

In the same vein, in recent philosophical discussion a different focus has emerged: “conceptual engineering”, or deliberate conceptual change, towards good social ends. In particular—sticking with our example—some philosophers say that, even if the current public concept “woman” doesn’t include trans women, we should actively engineer it to do so in future. It’s argued that this will vastly improve the experience of trans people, ultimately helping to minimise both their sense of gender dysphoria (distress caused by a mismatch between felt and perceived gender identity) and their susceptibility to transphobic violence.

Trans activists emphatically agree. But crucially, they also effectively suggest that the concept “trans woman” should simultaneously be engineered. Namely, “trans woman” should include anyone who isn’t already a natal woman and who sincerely self-declares as a woman. Putting these two proposed acts of engineering together, we get: anyone who isn’t already a natal woman, and who sincerely self-declares as a woman, should be counted as a woman. 

In public discourse, there’s a lot of focus on whether trans women should be counted as women. Whatever the ultimate answer, that’s obviously a reasonable question, despite trans activists’ attempts to count it as “transphobic”. But I think we should also ask whether self-declaration alone could reasonably be the only criterion of being trans. There’s little precedent elsewhere. In a superficially comparable case, such as coming out as gay, there is still another underlying factor, sexual orientation, that secures your membership. It’s not just a matter of saying that you are gay. And though, as in the notorious case of Rachel Dolezal, a person might “self-declare” that she is “trans racial”, it has seemed clear to nearly everybody responding to this case that such a declaration would be not only false, but also offensive to genuinely oppressed members of the race in question. There is no such thing as being “trans racial”; there is only thinking falsely that you are.

If it’s not self-declaration, but some other factor, that makes you trans, what’s that factor? Not all trans people seek surgery or take hormones; not all consistently dress or self-adorn in a stereotypical feminine or masculine way; not all have gender dysphoria; and neither trans women, as a group, nor trans men as a group, have any common sexual orientation. Equally, some people have gender dysphoria and yet resist calling themselves trans; some surgically add feminised features without being trans. And so on. All we seem left with is self-declaration. 

If we agree, and also accept that trans women should be categorised as women, then ultimately this leaves us with: anyone who isn’t a natal woman, and who sincerely self-declares as a woman, should be counted as a woman. Both Theresa May, Britain’s prime minister, and Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition Labour party, have apparently enthusiastically taken up this conclusion. They want to change the law to allow gender self-identification via an administrative process of self-certification as the only criterion for legally changing the sex recorded on one’s birth certificate. However, I’ll now suggest that such a move is not cost-free. In particular, certain harms to original members of the category “woman” should be weighed against any gains. 

One problem is that, since “woman” and “female” are interchangeable in many people’s minds, we’re likely to lose a secure understanding of the related concept “female”. (Indeed, some activists advocate stretching this concept to include trans women, too.) Yet the existing concept is in good order. It designates a person with XX chromosomes, and for whom ovaries, womb, vagina and so on are a statistical norm, even if some females are born without some of these, or lose one or more later. That intersex people exist doesn’t seriously threaten this category, since most categories have statistical outliers.

Nor does the existence of males born with none of these features, who then take hormones or undergo surgery to gain some such features artificially. Maintaining the concept “female” as it is is crucial to an understanding of a particular kind of lived physical experience, already significantly under-investigated in relation to other medical and academic specialties. To put it bluntly: if we were to lose this concept, and with it the concept “male”, we would have to reinvent them.

The category “female” is also important for understanding the particular challenges its members face, as such. These include a heightened vulnerability to rape, sexual assault, voyeurism and exhibitionism; to sexual harassment; to domestic violence; to certain cancers; to anorexia and self-harm; and so on. If self-declared trans women are included in statistics, understanding will be hampered. A male’s self-identification into the category of “female” or “women” doesn’t automatically bring on susceptibility to these harms; nor does a female’s self-identification out of those categories lessen it. In a sexist world which often disadvantages females, as such, we need good data. We need good data about trans people too, of course, but the two tasks should be separated.

Even more pressingly, if we lose a working concept of “female” in the way indicated, self-declared trans women (males) may well eventually gain unrestricted access to protected spaces originally introduced to shield females from sexual violence from males. We are already seeing the erosion of these, as companies and charities open formerly female-only spaces such as changing rooms, shared accommodation, swimming ponds, hospital wards, and prisons, to everyone out of a desire not to appear transphobic. 

The problem here is male violence. The category of self-declared trans women includes many with post-pubescent male strength, no surgical alteration of genitalia, and a sexual orientation towards females. And, even currently, gender reassignment can legally change sex category on birth certificates. This leaves the future of “same-sex” spaces unclear. Note that this is emphatically not a worry that self-declared trans women are particularly dangerous or more prone to sexual violence. It’s rather that we have no evidence that self-declared trans women deviate from male statistical norms in relevant ways. There’s also a separate worry that violent males who do not consider themselves trans will eventually take advantage of increasing confusion about social norms about such spaces. Sex offenders already go to great lengths to access vulnerable females; there’s no reason to think they wouldn’t use this situation to their advantage. The construction of social spaces is necessarily coarse-grained. Once sex-based protections are gone, we can’t easily keep out only the dangerous people.

And changing the concept of “woman” to include self-declared trans women also threatens a secure understanding of the concept “lesbian”. Lesbians are traditionally understood as females with a sexual orientation towards other females. Again, the categorisation is socially useful. It helps members of the category understand themselves in a positive, distinctive way, despite living in a heteronormative society. It motivates them to create their own social spaces. It gives them special protections, as a discriminated-against minority; and access to special sources of charity funding. Some trans activists seek to engineer the concept “lesbian” too, arguing that, since self-declared trans women are women, or even female, self-declared trans women with a sexual orientation towards women, or females, are “lesbians”, and should have access to exactly the same social spaces, protections and funding. Furthermore, many self-declared trans women retain male genitalia. Some trans activists have it that female lesbians are “transphobic” for ruling out sexual attraction for those with male genitalia. The upshot of this is likely to involve confusion and shame for some emerging young lesbians, socially pressured into considering sleeping with males to whom they are fundamentally unattracted, as determined by their basic sexual orientation.

These are only some of the harms associated with introducing self-declaration as the defining criterion of being trans, whilst simultaneously counting trans women automatically as women. Harms also arise for females having to share already meagre sex-based resources with self-declared trans women (such as all-women shortlists for political candidacy, representation in the media and sports scholarships). They arise for post-operative “transsexuals” in relation to the approaching massive expansion of their defining category. And they arise for gender-nonconforming children, whose emerging world-view can be strongly influenced by trans-activist rhetoric about self-declaration. In sum, when deciding what the law should say, or even what our concepts should be, there are more things to consider than some trans activists would have you believe.

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Priests used gold crosses to ID kids as abuse targets and other horrors from Pennsylvania report

Priests used gold crosses to ID kids as abuse targets and other horrors from Pennsylvania report | Gender and Crime | Scoop.it
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What an 18th-century feminist would champion today - Open Future

What an 18th-century feminist would champion today - Open Future | Gender and Crime | Scoop.it

The newly minted free and equal men who strode out of the pages of Locke’s Second Treatise of Government into the burgeoning public sphere, and out to the colonies, did so on the backs of the poor, the non-European and women. That women were omitted from “mankind” came as a shock to Mary Wollstonecraft. 

She had watched the French Revolution with joy, raged at Edmund Burke’s criticism of it, and gamely joined English radicals such as Thomas Paine in their rebuttals of Burke, writing her own Vindication of the Rights of Men (1790). As it became clear, however, that liberté and égalité were tied inextricably to fraternité, she took up her pen again, this time to write the masterpiece A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792).

Liberalism has since claimed Wollstonecraft for itself. She now appears in its pantheon, credited with extending the rights of man to all human beings, “regardless of the distinction of sex,” as she wrote in Vindication. Why should women, she asked, “be excluded, without having a voice, from a participation of the natural rights of mankind”?


While this certainly sounds liberal, it is questionable whether she fits the term. Liberals classically define freedom as non-interference, so that you are considered free if you are unconstrained by physical impediments, such as chains, or by coercion, such as a gun to your head.

If you are dependent for all your liberal rights on the goodwill of your master, then you are a slave
Wollstonecraft, on the other hand, goes further, defining freedom as non-dependence, advocating a theory that has since been identified by Quentin Skinner and Philip Pettit as republican. According to this theory, even if you are free in the liberal sense, that is, you can move about and live without restriction, if you do so at the discretion of someone else, then you are not really free. If you are dependent for all your liberal rights on the goodwill of your master, then you are a slave.

Although some liberals respond that their view of freedom encompasses the republican view, it is important to pick out the difference between the particular horror of living under arbitrary power, and the particular horror of being incarcerated. Wherever Wollstonecraft sits precisely in relation to liberalism, however, it is unarguable that she launched the most extraordinary manifesto for freedom. It would have led her to champion three causes today.

1. The first would be opposition to arbitrary power, and as a consequence, a commitment to social equality. If freedom means being governed by your own will, then in political terms, parliament, the representative body of the people, must be sovereign. To be ruled according to the wishes of the executive turns us all into slaves.

The same goes for the home, which ought not to be a place of tyranny. For Wollstonecraft, dependency is awful not just because it makes you a slave but because it turns you into a slavish person. You bow and scrape and flatter, diminishing yourself and becoming unable to speak truth to power. Wollstonecraft’s approach to liberty requires equality—in a move that runs contrary to much liberal thinking.

Hierarchies per se—of class, race and gender—breed dependency and corrupt all parties. Society needs levelling out, if we are to be rid of monsters. As Wollstonecraft says, “power … is ever true to its vital principle, for in every shape it would reign without control or inquiry. Its throne is built across a dark abyss, which no eye must dare to explore.                                                                                                    
2. Wollstonecraft’s second cause would be feminism. She believed that gender is in many ways a construct of power. There are no essential differences between men and women that explain or justify the arrangement of the world. With regard to their minds, men and women have equal capacities. One consequence of the dominant status of men is that it makes women obsessed with “the art of pleasing” them.

If you are told that what is valuable about you is your appearance, then you come to believe it, and it twists your life. “Taught from their infancy”, says Wollstonecraft, “that beauty is women’s sceptre, the mind shapes itself to the body, and, roaming round its gilt cage, only seeks to adorn its prison.” She would have supported Endangered Bodies, the brilliant initiative that challenges the toxic culture that turns us against our own bodies, and aims to create a body positive world.


3. Finally, Wollstonecraft would have supported free, universal education. In England in her day, girls fell out of education earlier than boys, if they had any at all, and there the social rot set it. Her view that the education of girls would transform not only the position of women, but society more generally, is now a core principle of development theory. She would have campaigned for Camfed, an international non-profit that supports girls into schools in sub-Saharan Africa, as a way to empower women and tackle poverty and inequality.

Wollstonecraft looked to the education of individuals to benefit everyone. She would have baulked at our sharp-elbowed parenting and private schools. “Parents often love their children in the most brutal manner,” she despaired, “and sacrifice every relative duty to promote their advancement in the world.” For Wollstonecraft, education was the path to freedom, but not freedom in the competitive mould; rather the kind that nurtures “the common relationship that binds the whole family on earth together.”

Hannah Dawson is a lecturer in the history of political thought at King's College London. She is the author of “Life Lessons from Hobbes” (Pan Macmillan, 2013); “Locke, Language and Early-Modern Philosophy” (Cambridge University Press, 2007); and “Disputations on the Law of Nature” (Oxford University Press, 2017).

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Former Stanford swimmer Brock Turner loses appeal of felony conviction for sexual assault of unconscious woman.

Former Stanford swimmer Brock Turner loses appeal of felony conviction for sexual assault of unconscious woman. | Gender and Crime | Scoop.it
A three-judge court of appeals panel ruled unanimously that Turner received a fair trial.
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Witches are still hunted in India—and blinded and beaten and killed - Witch?

Witches are still hunted in India—and blinded and beaten and killed - Witch? | Gender and Crime | Scoop.it

AT LEAST Ramkanya Sen is alive. The grandmother spent three weeks locked in a windowless storeroom in the searing heat, refusing to eat, until a tip-off alerted a journalist to her predicament. The rescue came just in time, say doctors who revived Ms Sen (pictured) at a government hospital in Bhilwara, a small city in southern Rajasthan. Sent home in August, she is still weak, shaken and disoriented, but safe for now.

Indian police records suggest that on average more than 150 less lucky women die every year for the same reason that Ms Sen was locked away: being fingered as a dayan (witch). They are burned, hacked or bludgeoned to death, typically by mobs made up of their neighbours and, sometimes, their own relatives. Ritual humiliation often precedes death. A suspected witch may expect to be stripped naked, smeared with filth, dragged by her hair and forced to eat excrement. Kanya Devi, from a village 120km north of Bhilwara, had all those things done to her on August 2nd. The 40-year-old mother of two was also blinded with red-hot coals and severely beaten. She did not survive.

Tara Ahluwalia, the head of an NGO in Bhilwara that defends women from violence, says that of the 86 witch-hunts she has documented in the past two decades in the surrounding district, which has a population of 2m, only three have led to death. Yet nearly all the cases have ended with severe and lasting ostracism, or forced banishment. “The worst thing is the social stigma,” she says. Whole families suffer, she explains: no one will marry into them and they often end up feuding with one another when it turns out that a close relative was after the supposed dayan’s land.

To own a property that someone else covets is one of several risk factors. Being a Dalit (formerly known as untouchable), or belonging to a caste that happens to be both lowly and uncommon in the area, does not help. The family of Ms Sen, for instance, belongs to a “helper” class. Her husband is a barber, a profession considered unclean. They were the sole Dalits among 60 households of Jats, a poor but proud landowning community.

The trouble started when Pooja, a 16-year-old Jat girl, developed pains in her belly. Her family took her to a bhopa, or shaman, who quickly detected witchery. Either Pooja herself or someone else suggested the source might be Ms Sen, who sometimes sits on a doorstep close to Pooja’s school, and had acted a bit oddly since accidentally banging her head a few years ago.

Witch murders are concentrated across the centre of India, in the largely rural states of Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha. All have large populations of tribal peoples, among whom illiteracy is common.

Five Indian states have passed laws that explicitly penalise accusations of witchcraft, and in some cases can punish entire communities. But the example of Rajasthan, which passed one of the most comprehensive such laws in 2015, is dispiriting. Despite the filing of 50 cases since then—seven by Ms Ahluwalia herself—not one has been prosecuted. “Now that we have one, why aren’t they using the law?” she asks. “Because the police have no will to act.” That said, she notes that the problem is often better dealt with by reconciliation.

Ms Sen, for her part, does not seem to want the police to get involved. It is all too confusing. The Jats had first warned her family to banish her or keep her out of sight. Then they came in a mob, beat her husband and threatened to burn down the house, until her three sons calmed them with a promise that they would imprison their own mother. So who is the criminal? Besides, says Ms Sen, “I am old and my children and grandchildren have to live here.”

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Golden State Killer: Genealogy matches spawn golden era in cracking cold cases

Golden State Killer: Genealogy matches spawn golden era in cracking cold cases | Gender and Crime | Scoop.it
Since nabbing a suspect in one of California’s most notorious cold cases, law enforcement across the country have rushed to take advantage of a database called GEDMatch to link genetic profil…
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Man Sentenced in Serena Williams' Sister's Death Was Released

Man Sentenced in Serena Williams' Sister's Death Was Released | Gender and Crime | Scoop.it
Maxfield was a member of the Southside Crips gang, prosecutors argued, and the shooting was retaliation on who he thought was another gang member.

(Charges against a second suspect in the case, who also allegedly opened fire on Price’s vehicle, were ultimately dropped following a mistrial.)

Rolland Wormley, Price’s boyfriend at the time, was not hit in the shooting. Speaking with the Times later in 2003, Wormley recalled of that night:

“I’m trying to get through this. I’m trying to get away, I’m trying to get her to safety. Once I get to Long Beach Boulevard, I see the back window is shattered. I look to the right and said, ‘Baby, are you all right?’ I look at [Price] and there was blood everywhere.”
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The Sex-Trafficking Case Testing the Limits of the First Amendment

The Sex-Trafficking Case Testing the Limits of the First Amendment | Gender and Crime | Scoop.it
n June 2015, an ad appeared on Backpage.com in Texas with a series of alluring photos of a naked woman, who described herself to potential dates as “fun, young, exotic,” and “ready to be your fantasy girl.” By the end of the month, the woman had been murdered by a customer who responded to the ad. He set her corpse on fire in an attempt to destroy the evidence. When the victim’s father contacted Backpage.com to try and get the pictures of his dead daughter removed from the site, the company didn’t immediately comply.

At the time, Backpage was the largest online publisher of sex ads in the world with city-specific sites spanning 97 countries. In the 11 years since it had been launched, it had earned some $500 million for its owners. But it was also the scourge of law enforcement officials across the country whose investigative files teemed with hundreds of examples of cases that had connections to ads on the site: a young girl forced to perform sex acts at gun point, choked to the point of seizures and gang-raped; a woman whose pimp fed her drugs, stole her identification documents and sexually assaulted her with a firearm; yet another woman who tried to escape her pimp by jumping out of a vehicle on the highway and was run over and killed. Attorneys general in multiple states had tried to shut down the site and prosecute its owners and all had failed.


But in 2015, the same year the ad in Texas ran, Congress launched its own investigation, ultimately forcing the release of over 1 million pages of documents which provided the evidence necessary for the Department of Justice, in 2018, to file a massive indictment against seven of the company’s executives. (The horror stories mentioned above formed the backbone of the case.) Altogether, the officials face 93 federal charges of facilitating prostitution, money laundering and participating in a criminal conspiracy, which could send them to prison for upward of 20 years. The two men at the center of the operation, say federal investigators, were a pair of longtime media iconoclasts, Mike Lacey and Jim Larkin.
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Child screamed as mother tossed her into Florida river, Tampa police say

Child screamed as mother tossed her into Florida river, Tampa police say | Gender and Crime | Scoop.it
Tampa police provided new details about 4-year-old Je'Hyrah Daniels' struggle as her mother tossed her into the Hillsborough River Thursday afternoon.
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Darmer questioned about missing student Mollie Tibbetts thinks ‘some guy has her’

Darmer questioned about missing student Mollie Tibbetts thinks ‘some guy has her’ | Gender and Crime | Scoop.it
The Iowa hog farmer being grilled by federal agents about the disappearance of college student Mollie Tibbetts said he has “no idea” who she is — but suspects “some guy has her,” according to a report.

An FBI agent spoke to Wayne Cheney for about 10 minutes on Friday afternoon, Fox News reported.

Afterwards, Cheney insisted that he has “nothing to hide,” the outlet reported. He did not provide any more details about the “guy” he mentioned.

Officials questioned Cheney– who has pleaded guilty to two unrelated stalking cases in 2009 and 2014 — for hours on Tuesday.

Then on Thursday, search teams scoured ditches near his farm after finding a possible clue related to her disappearance– a red shirt.

It wasn’t immediately clear if the clothing belonged to the Iowa University student. A co-worker at the daycare center where the 20-year-old worked told Fox News they wear red shirts.

That same day, officials asked him to take a polygraph test, which he declined, the outlet reported.
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Youngest member of female terrorism cell jailed in Britain | Reuters

Youngest member of female terrorism cell jailed in Britain | Reuters | Gender and Crime | Scoop.it
The youngest member of an all-female terrorism cell in Britain was jailed for life with a minimum term of 13 years on Friday for plotting attacks in London with her sister and mother.
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