When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Dilma Rousseff and Park Geun-hye
Dilma Rousseff and Park Geun-hye

-Analysis-

It's just a coincidence, but the symbolism is too hard to ignore. Two days ago, as every year on March 8, the world was celebrating women for, among other things, their "economic" and "political achievements." Earlier today, South Korea's Constitutional Court ruled that President Park Geun-hye must be removed from office over a corruption scandal that involves some of the country's top conglomerates, including national flagship corporation Samsung.

The case is reminiscent of that of another woman who, like Park, had been the first woman elected to lead her country, but who also was deposed amid accusations of cronyism: Brazil's Dilma Rousseff. Even if Dilma was impeached for having manipulated the budget to boost her chances of reelection, she too was suspected of corruption in the still ongoing operation Lava Jato ("Car Wash").

Meanwhile, in neighboring Argentina, it is a former president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who was recently indicted for allegedly taking bribes to award public works to companies owned by people close to her.

Women who seek public office should expect that their integrity will be examined with an unforgiving eye.

Rewind to late 2013 Germany and you'll find that even Angela Merkel, the oft-dubbed "most powerful woman in the world" and "new leader of the free world," isn't beyond reproach. Back then, she and her party were accused of having taken a generous donation from car manufacturer BMW, days before intervening to scrap an EU deal to cap carbon emissions. And of course, in last year's campaign for the White House, Hillary Clinton's defeat may ultimately be blamed on doubts about her honesty and probity.

It is first worth noting that in virtually all of these cases, the male rivals of the women in question have some serious ethical challenges of their own, which may even be viewed differently by a public more willing to forgive "boys being boys."

But the upheaval in Seoul is still a worthwhile reminder, two days after some justified calls for more female power, that women who seek public office should expect that their integrity will be examined with an unforgiving eye. And same goes for men.

You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
Society

Colombia Celebrates Its Beloved Drug For The Ages, Coffee

This essential morning drink for millions worldwide was once considered an addictive menace, earning itself a ban on pain of death in the Islamic world.

Colombia's star product: coffee beans.

Julián López de Mesa Samudio

-Essay-

BOGOTÁ — October 1st is International Coffee Day. Recently it seems as if every day of the calendar year commemorates something — but for Colombia, coffee is indeed special.

For almost a century now we have largely tied our national destiny, culture and image abroad to this drink. Indeed it isn't just Colombia's star product, it became through the course of the 20th century the world's favorite beverage — and the most commonly used drug to boost work output.

Precisely for its stimulating qualities — and for being a mild drug — coffee was not always celebrated, and its history is peppered with the kinds of bans, restrictions and penalties imposed on the 'evil' drugs of today.

Keep reading...Show less

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in
THE LATEST
FOCUS
TRENDING TOPICS

Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

Watch VideoShow less
MOST READ