In an interview with Diane Sawyer, Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) said she believes the fiscal cliff issue would have been resolved by now if it were left in the hands of female senators.
“I think if we (women) were in charge of the Senate and of the administration, we would have a budget deal by now,” Collins told Sawyer. “With all deference to our male colleagues, women’s styles tend to be more collaborative.”
For the first time in U.S. history, one-fifth of Congress will be composed of female senators when they are sworn in on Jan 3. The 113th Congress will consist of 16 Democratic female senators and four Republican senators. This is three more than the current count of women serving in Congress.
The Sawyer interview featuring 19 of the 20 female Congresswomen will air on Jan. 3.
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo) also believes that women possess greater negotiations skills which could have been applied to the fiscal cliff crisis.
“By nature we are less confrontational and more collaborative,” McCaskill said. “Not only do we want to work in a bipartisan way, we do it.”
McCaskill has a history of reaching across the aisle to pass legislation as she did on the Earmark Elimination Act of 2011 with Sens. Pat Toomey (Pa.) and Marco Rubio (Fla.).
But can women truly come to an agreement on issues in this “Mean Girl” culture where competition and back-stabbing are often used as weapons?
Therapist Phyllis Goldberg and Rosemary Lichtman, co-founders of HerMentorCenter.com beg to differ. They find that the “mean girl” method is only used by women who are immature and easily succumb to social pressures.
“They have a lot of life experience,” Goldberg said. “Women are brought up to take care of people and situations, developing communicative and collaborative skills. Those skills in family relationships can be a metaphor for so many other things, whether in politics or business.”
Goldberg finds that the new female senators may offer a touch that is long overdue in Congress.
“The excitement, the energy, the idealism [from having more women than ever before in the Senate]—all of that can coalesce into a lot of strength and power and a willingness to reach solutions,” Goldberg suggested.
Although emotions are sometimes equated with weakness, Goldberg believes women are the experts at using emotions to express empathy towards others dealing with the effects of the recession.
“Women by nature and by early learning are very emotional,” she said. “When they see how frustrated, how discouraged, how stressed families and individuals are, they have the desire to make something happen and to bring some closure to a very painful period in people’s lives.”