At a conference on women’s leadership in Waikiki Tuesday, Linda Lingle made the case that women are as capable of running governments as men — perhaps more so.

“We know that in 2008, when the financial collapse came to America and the rest of the world, pretty much men controlled every point in the economic and financial world,” the former governor said at the Sheraton Waikiki. “In this country they control the SEC, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the rating agencies, the presidency. We know that — those are just facts.”

The governor paused for effect, and then said this: “And we would also have to conclude that they’re not doing too great.”

Founded Leadership Conference

That remark, delivered to a ballroom packed with mostly women and female teens, was met with hearty applause.

Lingle, of course, is expected to decide this fall whether she will run for the U.S. Senate next year.

Lingle launched the leadership summit eight years ago when she was in office. As Civil Beat has reported, the annual event continues with private sponsorship.

Lingle, a Republican and the first female governor of Hawaii, told conference attendees that the conference was not political: “There’s no agenda. We don’t produce a white paper.”

But Lingle stated that, because women are more connected to each other across the globe — the women’s conference features speakers and guests from a number of countries — the traditional role of women is changing.

The governor pointed out that the connection is likely to result in more women rulers:

If we look around today, whether in the financial markets, or in the social settings in countries all across the Middle East and Africa, what’s going on — you’ve got to conclude one thing: We know that in recent history, men have pretty much controlled the politics in every country on the planet.

We know that’s a fact. We can point to a woman here or there, but we know, generally speaking, men have been in control, been able to make the decisions that have brought us to the point where we’re at today in America and in the world.

Holding Up Half the World

Lingle concluded her remarks at the leadership conference with a prediction: The ability for women to connect with other women “will produce outstanding world leaders, not just in their part of the world but on the world stage.”

“While the Chinese have the expression ‘women hold up half the world,’ I think women are going to lead at least half the world, more of the world, because people all across the world are starting to understand that for us to have a strong society, a strong economy, we all have to participate,” she said. “Everyone has valid points to make, everybody has contributions that they can bring forth to any issue that’s facing our state, our country or our world.”

If she runs and is elected in 2012, Lingle would be the first female senator from the state of Hawaii.

But then, so would Mazie Hirono, the U.S. representative running in the Democratic primary for the same seat.

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