The purpose of our blog is to discuss topical issues, stories, and situations, as well as to share what we are up to and new ways for you to get involved. We are always searching for possible answers to the question: Why is a girl's worth culturally and historically relative?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Plight of the Former Alpha Female

In this Friday, Nov. 4, 2011 file photo former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko waves to supporters from a prison window in Kiev, Ukraine. (AP Photo/Ukrafoto, File)

To be a female leader is seen as a great achievement, something of a breakthrough. But what happens when that power and prestige is taken away? Among recent weeks all eyes have been on the Ukraine for various reasons - many of them football related - but also because former female prime minister and leader of the opposition Yulia Tymoshenko, who was imprisoned back in October, has been sent to hospital subsequent to going on a hunger strike and after allegations of abuse. The reason for her imprisonment relates to ‘abuse of office in the handling of gas negotiations’ a serious charge which holds much convenience for the opposition and holds a sentence of seven years. Usually I love to dissect the complexities of politics, the struggle for power, and the influence of corruption, but this case has so many twists and turns it is like trying to drive through thick fog. What this situation does highlight however is the vulnerability that follows when a powerful female loses that influence and control.

This is not a new phenomenon. Take Joan of Arc for instance, after leading armies and being seen as a French heroine she was later defeated and burned at the stake. Mary Queen of Scots was another woman promised for great power but who ended her days imprisoned before being executed. It seems the greater the power, the more enemy’s one makes and when the protection of power and influence is taken away the opportunity for people to act and take advantage is all too great. Not all stories end this way however and it’s not only alpha females that fall hard, men too fall foul of this vulnerable space after power.

-Emma Hatherall
Junior Girl
Girl Museum Inc.

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