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Hey Weiner, Women in Power Don't Take Vagina Pics

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After a week consumed with New York mayoral hopeful Anthony Weiner's wiener pics, the relationship between male power and sex has once again been thrust into the spotlight.

And it seems these scandals always centre around men and their wieners.

Where are all the women, drunk off authority (and maybe a little wine) snapping vagina pics for young college students?

While it could be a mere numbers game -- the fewer women in power the less chances one of them will chronically be caught with her pants down -- I think the characteristics that often make men good leaders (narcissism, decisiveness, risk-taking) also embolden them sexually.

And even if women leaders possess these characteristics (because often they do), power in their jobs doesn't seem to extend to perceived power in their pants.

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May has never been caught in a sex scandal (neither, she points out, have any other female federal party leaders). "I take risks in terms of achieving goals politically," she says. "But, you know, thrills and chills and that kind of [personal] risk-taking doesn't interest me at all."

May always thinks about how her behaviour would look on YouTube or the front page of The Globe and Mail before acting.

That cautiousness should be celebrated, but we rarely focus on the accomplishments of powerful women. Instead the news is so often filled with the latest penis-driven scandal -- each new salacious detail reinforcing the correlation between the qualities that make men both sexually reckless and professionally powerful.

So while Weiner may have sabotaged his political career, he has also earned himself a lifetime membership to the bunga bunga club -- his portrait hung snugly besides the likes of Bill Clinton, Eliot Spitzer, Mark Sanford, David Petraeus and, most recently, Google's Eric Schmidt. Though nobody should not be fighting for wall space, the fact the club exists at all alienates women (and some men as well, no doubt), which carries a serious consequence. So long as women continue to equate positions of power with hyper-masculinity, they will be less likely to occupy them.

Women are still less engaged than men in the power worlds of business and politics.

A new study from D.C's American University interviewed politically-minded students and found 20 per cent fewer women than men had considered running for office. The headlines on another study earlier this month screamed some variation of "Women Know Less About Politics and Current Affairs." Canadian women answered one third of the political questions on the multiple-choice test correctly, while men got slightly less than half (the gender gap was consistent around the world).

The findings didn't surprise Caroline Criado-Perez, founder of a group that confronts gender imbalance in the media, who told The Independent: "There's a lot of research into the fact that women need to see themselves represented in order to feel part of the debate. Girls aren't born not interested in politics -- any more than boys are born engaged with it. Boys are shaped to be interested in it and feel they have a stake in it and people are listening to them."

Here's some proof: A 2001 study found women in the U.S. had an easier time naming a senator when a woman had been elected (or nominated) to that office in their state. In fact, women in such states scored better than men on the question.

If women need to see themselves reflected in positions of power to feel engaged, there still aren't a lot of places to look (the bunga bunga hall of fame coming in at dead last).

In Canada, the number of women in senior management positions dropped from 28 per cent in 2011 to 25 per cent in 2012 (globally, 21 per cent of senior management roles are held by women, barely higher than the percentage nine years ago) and women make up only 25 per cent of people working at "all levels of political representation."

With male leaders constantly making headlines for sexually lewd or aggressive behaviour, it's no wonder women don't feel attracted to the political life.

And we would all be better off if more women ran for office. Though female leaders can and do possess stereotypically male characteristics, they are also more inclined to be good communicators, collaborators and empathizers.

No one is more aware of gender dynamics and power than Kim Campbell, Canada's first and only female prime minister.

"All-male organizations can breed a hierarchical, testosterone-infused social dynamic that requires displays of machismo and the kind of risk-taking that helped fuel the financial collapse of a few years ago," she argued in a recent op-ed for The Globe and Mail. "Women are not better than men, but there is overwhelming evidence of the value they add in business and government when they have a chance to lead."

To get more women in positions of power we need to shift the focus from Weinergate to leaders who have used quintessentially female qualities to excel. Take Irene Rosenfeld, CEO of Kraft, who was characterized in a Guardian UK profile as someone who "does not fit the media archetype of the ball-busting American businesswoman. There are no dramatic power suits, no huge shoulder pads, expensive hairstyles or a personality so large and aggressive that it overcomes the testosterone levels of the male executives. Instead, Rosenfeld is the classic example of still waters running deep." She's also known for challenging Warren Buffet and currently holds the 20th spot on Forbes' "Most Powerful Women" list.

Some think more women in positions of power will mean more vagina pics. I think most women are just more inclined to think before pointing their camera-phone south. And that's a good thing.

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