Politics is usually regarded as a man's playing field. It has had its share of female interlopers, who were so far and few that their presence became iconic. Things are changing: Christina Fernandez de Kirchner was elected as President of Argentina recently.

Another high-profile female politician is US Senator Hillary Clinton, who is currently campaigning to be the first female American president.

And then you have German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who seems to be losing steam, and Philippine President Gloria Arroyo, repeatedly treading political hot water. Which leads us to the question: Do women possess the ability to play an effective role in politics?

Women are not equipped to deal with the murkiness of politics.

Look through history and you'll see women rulers have always done well, sometimes even better than their male counterparts. When I think of women in politics the ex-president of the Philippines, Corazon Aquino, the ex-prime minister of Sri Lanka, Sirimavo Bandaranaike and the different Queen Elizabeths of England come to mind. There have always been roles for women in politics.
– Greadha Krishna

Women are very emotional by nature. When it is time to make a decision, they follow their heart more than their mind, and this is not good sometimes. I don't think they can handle the pressures of top-level management. Men make better politicians because they can be hard and indifferent, which is often necessary for politics.
– Samer Miqdadi
Abu Dhabi

The best example of women in politics can be seen in India and Pakistan, with people like Sonia Gandhi, Pratibha Patil and Benazir Bhutto. Women should be encouraged to take part in politics. There should be no limits to what they can achieve, especially if they're strong leaders and good motivators. Many countries' leading politicians are women now. I don't think most men have a problem with it.
– Rashida Feroz
Abu Dhabi

I think women can make very good politicians. If they are well informed, educated and have a strong desire to make a difference, then they can be equal contenders with men in the political field. A woman can do everything a man can. When women can be good homemakers, why can't they make good leaders?
– R. Thomas

Women in authority are more ruthless than men.

When I think of all the male leaders I know it seems like they are more ruthless then the female leaders. Also, I haven't really heard of any female dictators. I think, generally, women are more nurturing and tender. They're not seen as power hungry and as willing to risk lives to gain it.
- Pete Hise
Kentucky, US

Women are more emotional and seem more polite and diplomatic. More tender. I'm thinking about Mother Teresa. But the atmosphere of the individual's upbringing generally determines ruthlessness. Generally though, I think men are more ruthless.
– Anslem D'Souza

Women and men are equally able to be ruthless, just as they are equally able to be good. In fact, I think women actually tend to be much more gentle than men. Historically, the most ruthless leaders have been men, such as Hitler. Women haven't yet had the opportunity to show what they can do.
– Joseph Stiles

A person's ability to be ruthless does not depend on their gender but rather on their personality the kind of person they are. Women have an image of being very soft hearted and many assume they are incapable of making rational decisions. But I believe that if women need to be firm and assertive, they can easily do so. They can be logical just as they can be emotional.
– Shereen Zayan
Abu Dhabi

International female leaders are shattering the glass ceiling.

As I see it, politics can get so complicated and convoluted that it might be hard for women to handle, especially all the pressure. But really I don't see a huge difference nowadays. For me it depends on the qualifications, if a woman can do the things she needs to, that's what counts.
– Ahmad Zuberi

It's about time. Today, things would be very different if more women were in power. I have often seen that even on the corporate level, women are moving up, becoming successful and showing very good leadership skills. In some situations, I think women make better leaders than men, as they are more creative and they tend to look for non-violent solutions, instead of resorting to brute force.
– Hubert Innerhofer

Many women are stepping up to the plate and shouldering more responsibilities. It depends on the personality of the woman, but I've noticed that many are not able to make good decisions under pressure. They are welcome to contribute to the political field, and I encourage this. I have found that some female leaders are more intent on securing their own future rather than focusing on their country and its people.
– Emaad Seddiq

Women are blazing their own paths in every field that was once considered for men only. Some of the best authors, reporters — even soldiers — in the world are women. They are not confined to the four walls of their homes anymore. I think this is a huge change from just around 20 years ago, when the thought of women as leaders of nations was never even considered.
– Nikhath Noor
Bangalore, India

Women are as hungry for power as men.

Women are as hungry as men because they want to be equal. In today's society it's become a little easier for women to gain these roles, and I think they're eager to. Women want to be leaders.
– Gaelle Nkuipou

There doesn't seem to be a lot of women in politics, even though now they have more freedom to take advantage of and take these positions. I don't think the political arena is a popular idea for women. I'd like to see more women participating in politics though, to make things more balanced.
– Kirill Norichkov

Women are stepping forward in every field, not just politics. New horizons are opening up for them and this is wonderful. However, politics itself is not a very clean field and when it comes to dealing with critical issues, I don't know if women are willing to handle them, especially when decisions have to be made that can make the difference between life and death.
– Omar Ejaz

Women can definitely be as power-hungry as men. Today, a lot more women are outspoken and motivated, but I think there should be limits to how far they are willing to go to gain power. Ambition is good but going through corrupt ways to achieve success is not acceptable.
– Polina Vesnina