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Most Women in High-ranking Positions raised in similar Family Environment, says Study

In the future, there will be no female leaders. There will be just leaders - Sheryl Sandberg

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Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, accompanied by first lady Michelle Obama, greet supporters during a campaign rally in Winston-Salem, N.C., Oct. 27, 2016. Researcher Susan Madsen says there are striking similarities among powerful women across the globe. VOA

November 1, 2016 : A victory by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton next month would add one more name to the list of the fewer than two dozen female heads of state and prime ministers in the world. But the number of women in high-ranking positions — ministers, governors, parliament members and CEOs — is growing.

And despite the different cultural and political backgrounds among those powerful women, there are striking similarities among them, according to researcher Susan Madsen, who studies the development of prominent female leaders in the United States and other countries.

“I’ve done very in-depth interviews with some women leaders in Eastern and Central Europe, China and also in the Middle East,” said Madsen, at professor at Utah Valley University in Utah. “I’ve got very interesting similarities, actually, with all the women.”

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Politics at the dinner table

Female leaders are raised in a similar family environment, according to Madsen.

Susan Madsen, who teaches at Utah Valley University, says women's approach to leadership is different than men's. "Generally speaking, women are just more collaborative," she said.
Susan Madsen, who teaches at Utah Valley University, says women’s approach to leadership is different than men’s. “Generally speaking, women are just more collaborative,” she said. VOA

Susan Madsen, who teaches at Utah Valley University, says women’s approach to leadership is different than men’s. “Generally speaking, women are just more collaborative,” she said.

“The dinner table conversation was when many of these women found their voices,” Madsen said. “Their fathers encouraged them to talk about the issues, around what was happening in the town, whether it was politics, or issues in schools. They actually were able to really have good conversations where the children were not hushed, where the children were asked to share their opinions.”

They were also encouraged to listen thoughtfully to others.

“Either mothers or teachers or whatever helped them learn to reflect more effectively than a lot of other people,” she explained. “If you don’t know how to reflect well and learn from your mistakes, you’re just not going to progress and be a strong leader. [I] also found that all of the women actually were avid readers, and their parents encouraged them to read and learn.”

In addition, Madsen found that most prominent female leaders used to play team sports.

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“It’s actually quite amazing how much you can learn from team sports, including helping women and girls understand how to lose and be OK with that — know that you have to get up and try the next time, and how to work with the team,” she said. “The research says that women in the workplace sometimes are not good at supporting each other. They actually will cut each other down, but team sports actually help you develop positive relationships with other women and build them up.”

Distinctly female leadership style

Madsen, who teaches management classes, also serves as a director for several women’s advocacy organizations, including the Utah Women and Education Initiative and the Utah Women and Leadership Project.

She noted that women’s approach to leadership is different than men’s.

FILE - Young women listen to first lady Michelle Obama speak during a campaign rally for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in Manchester, N.H., Oct. 13, 2016. Researcher Susan Madsen says women who have risen to positions of power have a common responsibility: leading by example, and inspiring the next generation of female leaders.
Young women listen to first lady Michelle Obama speak during a campaign rally for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in Manchester, N.H., Oct. 13, 2016. Researcher Susan Madsen says women who have risen to positions of power have a common responsibility: leading by example, and inspiring the next generation of female leaders. VOA

FILE – Young women listen to first lady Michelle Obama speak during a campaign rally for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in Manchester, N.H., Oct. 13, 2016. Researcher Susan Madsen says women who have risen to positions of power have a common responsibility: leading by example, and inspiring the next generation of female leaders.

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“Generally speaking, women are just more collaborative,” she said. “They really listen better. Research has shown women actually observe nonverbal behaviors better than men. They see more subtle things that are happening and can adjust and adapt, and really bring other people into the conversations.

“Women ask different questions and talk about different things. So women in politics … we will bring up and have our voices on different issues than men. Those issues are things like education — and this is not just in the U.S. — health care, child care, family issues, social programs [and] homelessness. We still bring up, as women, other issues, but we tend to bring up some of those issues that really represent the society.”

Lessons from challenges, mistakes

But there are common obstacles that often keep women from playing a more prominent role in their societies, Madsen says.

“It doesn’t matter the country, it doesn’t matter the income level or cultures — different studies say women have less confidence than men,” Madsen said. “Also, women don’t aspire generally, as much as men, to be leaders. That comes from girls and women not seeing women as leaders. The social norm is that men should be leaders more than women, just because that’s how it’s been done for years.

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“Perfectionism in women can be a barrier, as well,” she added. “If a man has 50 to 60 percent of the knowledge and skills, he’ll put up that application, he’ll file to run. With women, the research says, it’s about 90 to 100 percent — that a woman wouldn’t apply for a job or file for public office unless she’s almost perfect.”

To change that mindset, Madsen says, societies have to remove some of the hurdles that stand in the way of female empowerment.

“We have to help girls and women understand the importance of becoming a leader,” she explained. “We’ve got to teach them that they actually can be leaders and they actually should be leaders.

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“We’ve got to provide girls and women more with experiences that will increase their aspiration to be leaders, so they can see they can lead in situations to help people around them. We need to help them understand how to network, and provide them with more mentoring opportunities.”

Madsen says women who have risen to positions of power have yet another common responsibility: leading by example, to inspire the next generation of female leaders to do the same. (VOA)

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Facebook Chief Operating Officer Supports Releasing Russia-linked Advertisements

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Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg, delivers a speech during the visit of a start-up companies gathering at Paris' Station F, in Paris. voa

Washington, October 12: Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said Thursday she “absolutely” supports the public release of all advertisements produced by a Russia-linked organization during the 2016 presidential election.

Sandberg said the company is “working on transparency” following the revelation last month that a group with alleged ties to the Russian government ran $100,000 worth of ads on Facebook promoting “divisive” causes like Black Lives Matter.

“Things happened on our platform that shouldn’t have happened,” she said during the interview with Axios’s Mike Allen.

Later Thursday, Facebook Chief Operating Officer is set to meet with Congressional investigators who are looking into what role the advertisements which began running in 2015 and continued through this year may have played in the 2016 presidential election.

The $100,000 worth of ads represent a very small fraction of the total $2.3 billion spent by, and on behalf of, President Donald Trump and losing-candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaigns during the election.

Multiple congressional investigations have been launched, seeking to determine what effect alleged Russian meddling may have played in the election.

In addition, Robert Mueller, a former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, is conducting a criminal probe, including whether President Trump’s campaign colluded with Russian operatives during the election season. Trump has denied working with the Russians.

Facebook had previously agreed to disclose the thousands of Facebook ads to congress. Sandberg said Thursday she thinks “it’s important that [the investigators] get the whole picture and explain that to the American people.”

In response to the Russian ad buys, Facebook Chief Operating Officer said that company is hiring 4,000 new employees to oversee ads and content. She said the company is also using “machine learning and automation” to target fake accounts that spread fake news.

She defined fake news as “things that are false hoaxes” and said Facebook is working to stamp out the bad information by teaming up with third-party fact checkers and warning users before they share news deemed fake by Facebook.

She said it is important to be cautious when going after fake news because “a lot of what we allow on Facebook is people expressing themselves” and “when you cut off speech for one person, you cut off speech for all people.”

“We don’t check the information posted on Facebook before people post it, and I don’t think people should want us to,” she said.

Hundreds of fake accounts were used to distribute the Russia-linked advertisements, Sandberg said. But had those ads been posted by legitimate users, “we would have let them run,” she said.(VOA)

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Hillary Clinton finds Yoga, Alternate Nostril Breathing helpful for Relaxation

Hillary Clinton has found alternate nostril breathing yoga technique as a mantra for relaxation and peace after her loss in 2016 Presidential elections to Donald Trump.

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Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton VOA

Washington, October 12, 2017 : Hillary Clinton has demonstrated on national television how to perform yoga through alternate nostril breathing exercise. It is quite interesting to see Hillary Clinton has discovered the mantra to deal with stress.

In the aftermath of United States Presidential elections 2016, Hillary finds sitting cross legged on a yoga mat and practicing long inhale and exhale breathing techniques quite helpful. Hilary mentioned that she has been practicing it for quite some time and it has come across as a very helpful way.

The Democratic Party’s nominee for President of the United States in the 2016 election, Hillary Clinton has recommended yoga for everyone to try for relaxation. Yoga is an ancient Indian technique of pre-Vedic Indian tradition that involves physical, mental and spiritual training to relax the mind and body. Promoting the idea of practicing yoga for relaxation seems to be working well for Hillary, who found a new way out to live life and find peace after her loss to Donald Trump in 2016.

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Can Flourishing Islamic State (ISIS) be Stopped in Afghanistan?

The truth about IS and Afghanistan is definitely no picnic

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Taliban fighters react to a speech by their senior leader in the Shindand district of Herat province, Afghanistan, May 27, 2016.
Taliban fighters react to a speech by their senior leader in the Shindand district of Herat province, Afghanistan, May 27, 2016. The rise of IS in Afghanistan has become such a priority that U.S. and Afghan forces sometimes support the Taliban while battling IS, VOA
  • Depending on the location, the proliferation of IS has drawn varied resistance from the Afghan military, U.S. air support and ground troops, local militias, Taliban forces and other militant groups
  • Afghan army planes on Wednesday night accidentally air dropped vital supplies of food and water to IS militants in the Darzab district of northern Jouzjan province instead of to their own besieged troops
  • In the Tora Bora area, where IS has made a strong stand in recent days, local villagers and militias joined with Taliban to rout IS

June 25, 2017: The Islamic State group is rapidly expanding in parts of Afghanistan, advancing militarily into areas where it once had a weak presence and strengthening its forces in core regions, according to Afghan and U.S. officials.

Depending on the location, the proliferation of IS has drawn varied resistance from the Afghan military, U.S. air support and ground troops, local militias, Taliban forces and other militant groups.

Attacking IS has become such a priority in the country, that disparate forces sometimes join together in the ad-hoc fight, with Afghan and U.S. forces finding themselves inadvertently supporting the enemy Taliban in battling IS.

Confusion leads to mistakes

All too often, officials say, mistakes are made due to confusion on the ground.

Afghan army planes on Wednesday night accidentally air dropped vital supplies of food and water to IS militants in the Darzab district of northern Jouzjan province instead of to their own besieged troops, provincial police chief, Rahmatullah Turkistani told VOA. The supplies were meant to help Afghan forces that are countering twin attacks by IS and Taliban militants but were used instead by IS.

“It’s not getting better in Afghanistan in terms of IS,” U.S. Chief Pentagon Spokeswoman Dana White told VOA this week. “We have a problem, and we have to defeat them and we have to be focused on that problem.”

Reinforcements for the IS cause reportedly are streaming into isolated areas of the country from far and wide. There are reports of fighters from varied nationalities joining the ranks, including militants from Pakistan, India, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Russia and Central Asian neighbors.

Confusing scenarios

Still, the Islamic State-Khorasan (ISK) as IS is known in Afghanistan remains a fragmented group composed of differing regional forces with different agendas in different parts of the country.

“IS-K is still conducting low-level recruiting and distribution of propaganda in various provinces across Afghanistan, but it does not have the ability or authority to conduct multiple operations across the country,” a recent Pentagon report said. But where it operates, IS is inflicting chaos and casualties and causing confusing scenarios for disparate opponents.

In the Tora Bora area, where IS has made a strong stand in recent days, local villagers and militias joined with Taliban to rout IS. IS regained ground after a few days, leading to U.S. military air attacks on IS positions in conjunction with Afghan intelligence instructions and army operations.

IS fighters reportedly have fled from mountain caves of Tora Bora, where al-Qaida’s leader Osama bin Laden hid from U.S. attack in 2001.

Families displaced

IS fighters were also reportedly advancing in neighboring Khogyani district, displacing hundreds of families, according to district officials. It is one of several areas in Nangarhar province, near the Pakistani border, where IS has been active for over two years.

Fierce clashes in the Chaparhar district of Nangarhar last month left 21 Taliban fighters and seven IS militants dead, according to a provincial spokesman. At least three civilians who were caught in the crossfire were killed and five others wounded.

“IS has overpowered Taliban in some parts of Nangarhar because the Taliban dispatched its elite commando force called Sara Qeta (Red Brigade) to other parts of the country, including some northern provinces to contain the growing influence of IS there,” Wahid Muzhda, a Taliban expert in Kabul, told VOA.

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Recruiting unemployed youths

IS has also expanded in neighboring Kunar province, where, according to provincial police chief, it has a presence in at least eight districts and runs a training base, where foreign members of IS, train new recruits.

Hundreds of miles from Nangarhar, IS is attempting to establish a persistent presence in several northern provinces where it has found a fertile ground for attracting militants and recruiting unemployed youths, mostly between the age of 13 and 20.

IS has been able to draw its members from the Pakistani Taliban fighters, former Afghan Taliban, and other militants who “believe that associating with or pledging allegiance” to IS will further their interests, according to the Pentagon report.

Hundreds of militants have joined IS ranks in northern Jouzjan and Sar-e-Pul province where local militant commanders lead IS-affiliate groups in several districts.

Darzab district

Qari Hekmat, an ethnic Uzbek and former Taliban militant who joined IS a year ago, claims to have up to 500 members, including around 50 Uzbek nationals who are affiliated with the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) — previously associated with al-Qaida and Taliban in Afghanistan.

IS and Taliban are reportedly fighting over the control of Darzab district in Jouzjan which they stormed this week from two different directions and besieged scores of government forces. The Taliban has reportedly captured the center of the district while IS militants control the city outskirts.

Afghanistan faces a continuing threat from as many as 20 insurgent and terrorist networks present or operating in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, including IS, the Pentagon said.

“In areas where the government has limited influence and control, IS attempts to emerge and expand there,” Ateequllah Amarkhail, an analysts and former Army general in Kabul told VOA.

Hit-and-hide strategy

IS has also claimed responsibility for several recent attacks in urban areas, however, with a hit-and-hide strategy that is proving effective. And it is engaging too in more skirmishes with U.S. forces that initially were sent to the country to help Afghan forces halt the spread of Taliban.

Three American service members based in eastern Afghanistan were killed in April during operations targeting IS militants, according to the Pentagon.

“ISIS-K remains a threat to Afghan and regional security, a threat to U.S. and coalition forces, and it retains the ability to conduct high-profile attacks in urban centers,” the Pentagon said. (VOA)