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Some say it's a testament to how far we've come. Others say not so fast.
— Carl Bildt (@CBildt) February 1, 2014
That a picture of four female defense ministers went viral over the weekend indicates for many how far we've come.
They are female. They are defense ministers. There are four of them.
From left to right, they are: Ine Eriksen Søreide (Norway), Karin Enström (Sweden), Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert (Netherlands) and Ursula von der Leyen (Germany).
Søreide, Enström and Hennis-Plasschaert had met once another before. At a security conference in Munich over the weekend, they decided to welcome von der Leyen, Germany's first female defense minister and possible successor to Angela Merkel as head of the Christian Democrats, into their fold.
Hennis-Plasschaert captured this image on her phone and posted it online. Carl Bildt, Swedish foreign minister, posted it as well and his tweet (above) quickly went viral. It's not hard to see why.
“[The Dutch politician] Neelie Kroes once said to me that old boys’ networks are the oldest form of cartels we have in Europe. She was right, but things are changing, and women can do similar things now.”
But not so fast. Critics say the four female defense ministers are less a sign of advanced gender politics and more an indicator of the ministry's diminished role.
And Bildt's "True Power Girls" in the tweet above certainly shows that some still don't know the difference between girls and women. Or don't seem to think it matters.