Biden will be sworn in as the 46th president of the United States. For Biden’s new administration, many observers have noticed that a large number of Obama-era “old veterans” have been used, indicating Biden’s focus on professionalism and experience, but what is more impressive is the diversity of Biden’s new ruling team members.
From choosing a woman to serve as vice president to forming the first cabinet in U.S. history, the number of women equal to set history and break the “record” in appointments to certain important positions, the Biden administration is considered to have taken a brave step and a “progressive move”, but what impact will it have? Ring?
There are significant differences between men and women in decision-making styles. What will the increase of women in the ruling team bring? Is her politics worth paying attention to?
Biden cabinet, “Women hold up half of the sky”
“If Biden’s nominations are all approved, 12 of his 24 cabinet-level offices will be headed by women.” “This is an extremely rare achievement and will be the first gender-balanced cabinet in U.S. history,” wrote a January 11 article on the well-known American website “538.” It is also rare in the world.
On January 8, President-elect Biden announced his nominations for Commerce and Labor Secretary in his new administration, marking the completion of all cabinet nominations.
The Commerce Secretary was chosen as a woman – Gina Raimondo, Rhode Island’s first female governor.
Recently, Raimondo described his multiple roles through Twitter – mother, wife, daughter, governor and candidate for secretary of commerce.
Before entering politics, Raymondo had a successful business experience and founded several venture capital companies.
Some European media mentioned Raymondo’s Italian origin and British background, believing that her nomination is of great significance to Europe, especially for investors.
In addition, the New York Times said that Raymondo’s father lost his long-term job in a watch factory in Rhode Island due to the transfer of production to Asia.
Earlier, on December 17 last year, Biden nominated Deb Harlan, a congresswoman from New Mexico, as Secretary of the Interior.
If approved by the Senate, Harlan will become the first indigenous person to lead the cabinet-level department.
On the same day, former Michigan Governor Jennifer Graeme was nominated as Secretary of Energy. On December 10, trade lawyer Dyge was nominated as the U.S. Trade Representative.
If the appointment is approved, she will be the first Asian-American and woman of color to serve as a U.S. trade representative.
On November 30 last year, Biden announced the election to the economic team, with former Federal Reserve Chairman Yellen as Treasury Secretary and Hillary’s former senior aide and Chairman of the Center for American Progress Tanden as the Director of the White House Budget Office.
Yellen is a Jewish woman, and Tanden is a South Asian woman.
In addition, Biden nominated Cecilia Ross, Dean of Princeton University School of Public and International Affairs, to the chairmanship of the Committee of Economic Advisers, and if approved, will be the first woman of color to hold the position.
There are also many female members of the diplomatic and national security teams. Marceline Haines was named Director of National Intelligence by Biden, and she will be the first woman to hold the position.
Haynes served as the deputy director of the CIA and deputy national security adviser. Biden also announced the appointment of Linda Thomas Greenfield, a senior female diplomat, to the United Nations. Greenfield has a 35-year diplomatic career and served as Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs under Obama.
In addition, on December 10 last year, Biden announced the appointment of former national security adviser Susan Rice as the director of the White House Committee on Domestic Policy. On December 6, Biden nominated Rochelle Valensky, director of Massachusetts Central Hospital, as the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
At the end of November last year, Biden also released a list of seven women, three of whom were African-American, for the White House news and communications team. This is the first time that the senior officials of the team are all women, many of whom are former Obama administration officials.
“Women will play a key role in the Biden administration.” Biden has vowed to make his governing team more diverse, and in addition to his female partner, Vice President-Elect Harris, he also chose women for a series of key positions, the Capitol Hill said. The paper cited a statistic saying that 53% of Biden’s transition team’s senior staff are women, and 52% of all staff are women.
It is worth mentioning that last December, Vice President-elect Harris announced her senior staff team, an all-female team.
“The end of the boys’ club”?
U.S. News & World Report said that the U.S. President’s cabinet has long been a privilege for white men. In the 1980s, President Reagan had only one African-American (responsible for the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development) in his cabinet.
Clinton also promised to form a “American-like” ruling team during his 1992 election campaign, but in his first term, there were fewer than one-third of women in the cabinet, and the proportion of his second term increased to 41%. During the Obama era, women officials at the cabinet level hovered around one-third.
In contrast, Trump only appointed seven women to cabinet-level positions, at most a quarter of the cabinet, slightly higher than the two terms of former Republican President George W. Bush.
So, what will the increase of women in the leadership team bring? Rosa Brooks, a professor at Georgetown University School of Law, wrote in the New York Times that research shows that organizations with gender-diversified leadership perform better than those with male-dominated leaders because the former is relatively less inclined to “send thinking”.
On average, women show a more cooperative leadership style than men, and are relatively less likely to fall victim to misjudgment due to overconfidence.
Analysis of more than 8,000 rules made by U.S. federal agencies from 1995 to 2014 showed that female leaders were particularly successful in institutions where women were supported, but they performed quite poorly in unsupported environments, according to a study published by the Brookings Institution late last year.
Therefore, if the Biden administration wants to improve government efficiency through the diversification of official appointments, it needs to create a more supportive working environment for women.
“The ‘boss feminism’ of Biden’s cabinet,” the website of the New Republic of the United States said that even if this feminism is led by a white man in his 70s, it is a “brave and bold” move.
Such appointments are commendable, but in many ways, symbolic progress, merely making women realize that “they can do that too,” rather than that they will have the path to such positions or that will certainly improve the lives of many women.” A cabinet that is full of more women than before is not the ‘end of the boy’s club’ that some critics have expected – just approve a few new members.”
Some analysts say Biden is under pressure to “rely rely too much on women to fill the cabinet” before taking office, and he seems to be interested in doing so. Biden is fulfilling his promise to make the ruling team “reflect the face of the United States” in terms of demographic composition, while giving back support to women and minority voters.
However, some progressive groups seem to be disappointed that there are not enough determined progressives currently selected, and they are also worried that the candidates under consideration have too close relationships with lobbying interests.
According to the Axios News Network on the 12th, some Democratic lawmakers are urging Biden to promote pluralism in the State Department and choose ambassadors like he did when he formed a cabinet.
A Chinese political scholar told the Global Times that appointing women for the selection of women does not really solve the problem of gender equality.
The most important thing to solve and pay attention to is the selection process and the potential gender barriers and prejudices in the environment. To some extent, some new female officials on the stage are just redistribution of interests by the elite in the name of gender equality, and they cannot be said to represent the interests of the majority of women.
The scholar said that as a distribution of benefits under the cover of political correctness, the increase of women in the ruling team will not have a fundamental impact on the outcome of decision-making, but there may be more dramatic things, such as the decision-making process and conflicts in the process, especially if there are many differences within the team itself and people’s background is poor. It’s bigger, and some people are incompetent.
“They make a difference, but not as big as you think.” Song Guoyou, deputy director of the American Research Center of Fudan University, told the Global Times that female officials will not soften the policy style of the Biden administration, but will make its administrative methods more delicate and thoughtful.
This does not mean that the decision-making ability of the Biden administration will be weakened, because Biden’s appointments to most female officials are still political appointees, mainly considering whether the nominee’ style is consistent with his own and respectful ideas. Specifically, it is first to be politically loyal, and then to consider gender equality and racial diversity.
Female leaders, Europe is a mirror
Compared with the United States, Europe has gone further in the pursuit of gender equality and has more talk about women’s leadership style.
“Female leaders show the advantages of epidemic prevention!” German news television recently said that the current epidemic situation in Europe is still serious, but the severity varies from country to country.
In European countries that have been more successful in curbing the epidemic, most of them are led by women, such as Finland, where Marin, 35, is the prime minister.
Marin took office more than a year ago. Twelve of the 19 members of his cabinet are women, which is the highest proportion of women in the cabinet in the world.
She suffered from the global COVID-19 pandemic in her first year in office, but the Marin government responded decisively and calmly, and her leadership was praised by all walks of life. Marin, who likes to use social media, even asked many Internet celebrities in the country to endorse epidemic prevention propaganda.
Other European women leaders also have their own characteristics in fighting the epidemic: German Chancellor Merkel is good at using scientific data and early prevention to prevent epidemics.
Some time ago, she changed to “hard-mouthed” and even tears to affect the people. Icelandic female Prime Minister Jacobsdottir leads the country’s free testing for all. Norwegian Prime Minister Solberg held press conferences on television, such as children and without adults.
In addition to the above, the main female leaders in Europe include the President of Greece, the Prime Minister of Denmark, the President of Slovakia, the President of Estonia and the Prime Minister of Serbia.
In the European Union, von der Leyen was the first female supreme EU leader, and Lagarde was the first female president of the European Central Bank.
According to the report released by the European Union earlier last year, 39.4% of the members of the European Parliament are women, which is an all-time high. In Denmark, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta and other countries, more than half of the women parliamentarians.
“Gender equality is a very important part of the topic of equality, which is not only an idea in Europe but also a rule, endowed with political correctness, and so-called ability is put secondary.” Cui Hongjian, director of the European Institute of International Studies of the China Institute of International Studies, told the Global Times that in some European countries, even if the government leaders are men, they must reflect gender equality when forming cabinets.
Even the European Commission has asked that the proportion of men and women must reach about 50% when forming leadership teams. As a result, the female political participation base increases, and the probability of women becoming leaders is increased.
Cui Hongjian said that in recent years, women leaders in Europe have become a scenery, showing different characteristics from male leaders. Although their decision-making power is different from that of men, their ability to balance the forces of all parties is obviously relatively strong.
This feature is fully reflected in German Chancellor Merkel and is also a very much needed ability of the European political system to find a balance point and take into account the interests of all parties.
Secondly, female leaders are softer and better at communicating in foreign policy. However, the other side of the governance characteristics of women leaders also needs to be noticed. For example, former British Prime Minister Theresa May has been looking for a balance on the tearing issue of Brexit, but in fact, Britain does not have a social basis for finding a balance. After Johnson came to power, Britain’s attitude became very tough and gradually pushed forward the Brexit process in a very decisive way.
In the opinion of many experts, women have three advantages over male leaders:
- 1. Have special communication skills, warm, humanized and creative;
- 2. Good at listening;
- 3. Don’t take risks and pay attention to details.
As far as the fight against the epidemic is concerned, these qualities are beneficial. Germany’s weekly Focus also mentioned that women leaders pay more attention to values and soft topics such as education and environmental protection, which can win the trust of the people.
In decision-making, they are more cautious than male politicians such as Macron and Kurtz, which is conducive to enhancing Europe’s soft power.
However, many European media still favor men in terms of future leadership in Europe, especially Macron.