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Texas Town Where Women Rule

Texas Town Where Women Run the Whole Shebang

As a kid weaned on The Dukes of Hazzard and Ann Richards, I love this story — though I think it might have larger implications on the roles of women in leadership everywhere. See if you agree?

In the town of McLean, TX, the good ol’ boy network is being swept aside as women take the reins of almost all branches of town governance. Peggy Baer was elected in May 2007 as the town’s mayor, supervising a five-person board of aldermen who just also happen to be women. Also included in the new matriarchy are the city secretary, the justice of the peace, and the postmaster. So to what do the women attribute their success? To find out, and to see how Hillary fits in,


“We have people skills, and we’re a lot better to look at than most guys,” says Postmaster Diane Manuel. “You know why else women run this town? They’re not as cocky.” Heh. Literally, I guess. The women are getting some raves, like this from a former city employee: "The women do a lot more investigating than the men did in making an educated decision. They want to do everything by the book, which is the way it needs to be." Detractors say they women are on the catty side.

Mayor Baer says this of their woman-run show: "Women can change a diaper, stir a pot of stew, take a phone call, and use a leg to drag a toddler out from under the counter. We don't mind asking questions and saying we don't understand something."

It's a weirdly at-once forward and backward feeling story. Does it seem to you like the progress of women in government is stuck in a state of limbo? Like it's a foregone conclusion and a novelty all at once? Is this what might be (partially) hampering Hillary's bid?


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