Hillary Clinton and the clueless hormone argument

CEO Cheryl Rios: Women should not be president
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CEO Cheryl Rios: Women should not be president 04:48

Story highlights

  • A businesswoman worries that if Hillary Clinton becomes president, her hormones will make her go to war
  • Mel Robbins: What's scary is that the bias against women in the workplace is still going strong in 2015

Mel Robbins is a CNN commentator, legal analyst and the CEO of Mel Robbins Enterprises, a management consulting firm. In 2014, she was named outstanding news talk-radio host by the Gracie Awards. Follow her @melrobbins. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

(CNN)Thinking about presidential candidates? Apparently, hormones are a major factor one should consider.

According to one female businesswoman in Texas, Hillary Clinton shouldn't be president because her hormones might make her so irrational she'll start an unnecessary war.
When George W. Bush waged an unnecessary war in Iraq -- was his testosterone to blame?
    As Cheryl Rios, the CEO of Go Ape Marketing, sees it: "We're built differently, we have different hormones. In the world that we live in, I understand that there's equal rights and that's a wonderful thing and I support all of that. I don't support a woman being president."
    "With the hormones we have there is no way we should be able to start a war," Rios wrote in a Facebook post.
    If Rios is concerned about hormones impacting decisions in the Oval Office, she'd be better off worrying about the male candidates for president. Throughout history, male hormones have indeed impaired some male leaders' decision-making.
    Mel Robbins
    If science doesn't convince you, just Google "cheating politicians" for the long and sordid list of men like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mark Sanford and John Edwards, whose hormones got the best of them.
    Rios has taken a lot of flak for her "biblically" inspired beliefs, but she's not the only one who's arguing that a woman's hormones are a legitimate leadership concern.
    Time magazine declared Hillary Clinton the "perfect" age to be president, because she's a postmenopausal woman who is "biologically primed" to lead. (She also happens to be a former first lady, senator and secretary of state.)
    I'm not joking. Believe me, I wish I were. No wonder Jon Stewart left "The Daily Show" before the election cycle ramps up in full swing. If discussions about a candidate's hormones are what we have to look forward to, the state of presidential politics is depressing indeed.
    But underneath the biochemistry debate is a much scarier consideration: The bias against women in the workplace is so well established that even in 2015, a female candidate will be hard-pressed to get elected unless we have a serious discussion about ending gender bias.
    We want to believe that we live in a world where our daughters can do anything and be anything. And you'd think they could -- they outnumber boys in college, graduate school and the work force.
    But what will limit their potential is not biochemistry or ability, but a bias in how women and girls are viewed. Unfortunately, Cheryl Rios' view of women is not unique. Some people believe women have "our place" and that place is not at the table. They'll tell your daughter to "go for it" but believe she isn't qualified to fulfill her dreams.
    In a compelling series about women and work, Wharton School professor Adam Grant and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg lay out the startling facts about the bias women face at work and the profound benefit of eradicating gender stereotypes. The evidence of bias is undeniable and the examples are endless. It's overt: There are more men on corporate boards named John, Robert, William or James than there are women on boards altogether.
    The bias is also covert: When students rate their favorite professors, they describe the men as "geniuses" and the women as "nice."
    The bias is real, yet so many of us are blind to it. Hillary Clinton might not be the perfect candidate, but the fact that she is a woman will make her road to the White House a much steeper climb. That's not just a problem for Democrats -- it's a problem for Republicans, Independents, everyone.
    The fact is, equality benefits everyone. It's better for the bottom line (companies with more women in leadership roles make more money). It's great for kids because children with involved fathers are happier, healthier, and more successful. It's great for marriages because couples that share responsibilities have stronger marriages. And it's great for corporate teams because diverse teams and companies produce better results. Our nation, our economy and our families would be much stronger if half of our companies were run by women and half of our households were run by men.
    It's not enough to say to our daughters: "You can be anything you want to be." What we need to say is: "You can be anything you want to be, despite what some people might think -- and what they think is wrong."
    Rios said that if Clinton is elected, she is "moving to Canada" because "a female shouldn't be president." Apparently Rios knows as much about women and leadership as she knows about Canada: Kim Campbell became the country's first female prime minister in 1993.
    Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Canadians elected their first female prime minister, Kim Campbell.