Hawaii leads Washington with women, Kauai needs to do the same

This has been a wicked election period. The sheer ugliness of public speaking has been embarrassing, at home and especially overseas. Is this the best America has to show?

One breakthrough in what makes America great is uplifting the status of women and the numbers of women in leadership positions. We lag, ranking 74th globally. Shocking, yes?

Recently a comedian pointed out that we need more mothers in office. His point: They get the job done; they can deal with everything — backtalk, abuse, rejection — and they just don’t quit! They get knocked down and they get up and they just keep going!

The instincts and capacities that give women the stamina, grit and determination to overcome obstacles are the critical skills pointed out in the new leadership model, transformative leadership. Out of the nine critical skills needed for successful leadership in the world of global pressures, women outperform men on five.

One reason is the ability to think and plan with flexibility, looking at critical outcomes for the larger mass and for the future. Management of a family, a community or an organization is about managing change for the greater good of all. Mothers check their egos at the door of their families’ needs.

Women run businesses to benefit their employees, as well as their customers, and themselves. Some examples are Abby Santos, Marynel Valenzuela, Barbara Bennett, although there are too many to mention. (Apologies to all the outstanding women on Kauai!) These are outstanders who put the greater good of the whole over their personal needs.

Listening to women all my life, especially the last 40 years, has been my daily work and privilege. I have learned so much from them. How a Filipino grandma on Social Security goes without, to save for her granddaughter’s college. How single moms, impoverished by divorce or abandonment, learn to pinch pennies and add an egg to saimin dinners so their sons can have soccer shoes.

How many struggling Kauai families have gladly cared for their elderly, or taken in extra kids, because relatives are on drugs or in jail?

Over and over, women make complex decisions with far-reaching effects on many. Women so often make choices in stressful life circumstances; difficult decisions that limit their futures, to better others. We are born into it by nature, and carried along in life by current events.

You think women don’t understand budgets and spreadsheets? Can’t make big decisions that affect the future for all of us? That they don’t follow the news, the money, the legislative rulings? Think again.

Complex corporate budgets, legislation, personnel decisions, organizational wide policies and administration? Think again. How many women accountants, hospital CEOs, jet pilots, military generals, physicians and, most importantly, HR departments, are run by women?

If you trust us with your life, you can trust us with your vote.

We need more women councilmembers. Hawaii may lead the country in Washington, but we are falling way behind on Kauai. Half our community has no representation. We have no county policy against discrimination against women, as a starting point.

Women, use your votes. Men, use your votes to vote for someone who will vote for women’s needs, not just male businessmen. Vote for someone you would be proud to entrust with your mother, your daughters and your grandchildren’s lives. Think of their future.

We are here 100 years at most. Kauai has been here for millions. Cherish the land, and make her proud. Aloha makes us great.

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Virginia Beck has lived on Kauai since 1971. A wellness coach and writer, at Healthy by Design Hawaii. She can be reached at (808) 635-5618.

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