Survey: Women of Color Could be More Effective at Leading U.S.

Survey: Women of Color Could be More Effective at Leading U.S.

ATLANTA

While women are more confident than men that U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice would be an effective bridge builder among diverse cultures, only about a third of Black women hold that opinion, according to a survey released Wednesday by Spelman College.

The historically Black school’s Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement commissioned the survey of more than 1,100 participants between 25 and 60 years of age from 25 major cities.

The survey, conducted by telephone, included 299 Black women, 201 Hispanic women, 259 White women and 215 Asian women. More than 200 men were also surveyed.

The poll inquired about women of color in leadership positions. Nine out of 10 respondents said they were confident a woman of color could perform as well as or better than a man or White woman as president of the United States.

More than half the respondents surveyed, 54 percent, said building bridges could assist with economic issues, but only a third felt diplomacy could affect the war on Iraq.

Black women were most likely to subscribe to this opinion — with more than two-thirds sharing this belief — but did not believe that woman to be Rice. Only 35 percent believed she could be more effective as a global bridge builder, compared to half of Asian women surveyed.

Jane Smith, the executive director for the center, says she believes the difference in opinion is cultural.

“One of the things about Secretary Rice that all people respect is her sense of discipline and her sense of pride in work,” Smith says. “That is a cultural value in the Asian community: being prepared, being disciplined. I think they see a woman who reflects a value system.”

While Black women may also identify with these positive traits, Rice’s ideology may make them hesitant about her leadership abilities. Because of the Black community’s historically liberal leanings, Smith says, differences — real or perceived — on issues related to economics, the war and welfare in general may be factors in the low numbers.

“A significant number might say, ‘I’m so proud of that sister, but I wouldn’t elect her to anything,’” Smith says.

— Associated Press



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