How we talk about powerful women

 The "Darnley Portrait" of Elizabeth I of England, oil on panel, 113 x 78.7 cm, National Portrait Gallery, London (NPG 2082)

The “Darnley Portrait” of Elizabeth I of England, oil on panel, 113 x 78.7 cm, National Portrait Gallery, London (NPG 2082)

There is a gap in the way we portray powerful men and powerful women, says scholar Rachel Liddell at TEDxMiddlebury. From how we describe clothing (“When a man wears slacks and a blazer, it’s a suit … but if [a woman is] wearing a blazer with slacks, it would be a pantsuit,” Liddell says) to the ways we paint, interview, and critique leaders, male and female leaders tend to receive very different treatment.

In a thought-provoking talk, Liddell shares examples of this from throughout history, from Cleopatra to Elizabeth I to Hillary Clinton, and demands that we rethink how we portray our leaders — men and women alike — in order to elevate conversation, empower potential leaders and level the playing field.

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