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10/17/2013

Got a global financial crisis looming? Let the women leaders work it out

Femalesenators
U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, centre, and Senator Susan Collins,far right, in Washington, D.C. at the FORTUNE Most Powerful Women Summit, last Tuesday. (Paul Morigi/Getty Images for FORTUNE)

Now that the U.S. self-inflicted financial crisis is temporarily over, America is picking up the pieces, trying to assess how they nearly caused themselves catastrophic economic damage.

U.S. President Barack Obama told reporters on Thursday in Washington, D.C. that nobody won the 16 day stalemate between Congress and the Senate that kept hundreds of thousands of federal employees home without pay, closed national monuments and cost the government an estimated $160 million daily.

 Obama also told reporters Thursday it's time for Americans, regardless of political stripe, to pull together and "move on" by focusing on the things they agree on in order to get things done. Well, judging by the last two weeks in U.S. politics, they don't agree on anything and their inability to co-operate almost dragged down the entire global economy.

"The American people are completely fed up with Washington," Obama said.

But the American people should be thankful for 20 female U.S. Senators who did put bi-partisanship aside and apparently kick-started the process to end the crisis.

As an upcoming issue of Time Magazine acknowledges in this piece by Jay Newton-Small, "Women are the only adults left in Washington."

While most of the political establishment were at a stand-off, many of the 20 were gathering for pizza and wine in the Democratic office of New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen. Newton-Small says this was a true pot-luck with talk of getting rid of a medical device tax and other initiatives. Soon, the men were knocking at the door and joining in their talks which are being modestly credited for leading to discussions between Senate leaders Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell.

Apparently the female Senators have started their own "boy's club" of sorts. They get together for baby showers, social events and even arrange play-dates for their kids.

As Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, says in the latest issue of the Harvard Business Review, every great financial crisis could use a woman's help.

"Studies show that certain characteristics are predominant in female leaders, like the ability to listen, the desire to form a consensus, an attention to risk. Which is why I think women are good leaders in times of crisis," she said.

Tanya Talaga is the Star's global economics reporter. Follow her on Twitter @tanyatalaga

 

 

 

 

 

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