Women In Politics: To Be Or Not To Be?
This day, about a couple of centuries ago, women were not allowed to vote or be voted for, women were not allowed to participate in elections, women had no clue how the circle of politics worked, and women, in some parts of the world, had only the faintest ideas of what politics entailed.
From time immemorial, the patriarchal nature of our society made men have a larger percentage of participation in Politics and they still do. This has however not stopped determined women from actively understanding and participating in Politics, even if it is just at the grassroots.
Today, there is a more widespread acknowledgement of the shocking exclusion of women in politics and leadership. We have women leaders who actively participate in politics and win awards as well as other women who motivate the next generation to be politically active. Realistically, most women in rural areas are illiterate. The educated ones are discouraged by the way leadership positions are handled. The few that are courageous get rejected at 55% of every turn in politics and other leadership positions. It also goes to say that there are still a significant number of women who do not fully comprehend the concept of Politics. Of a truth, politics is a broad subject matter that can only reach a maximum near-understanding when practiced. This is often a result of the political cabals and juggernauts who make it become a different kind of ball game when they are in power.
If the concept of politics cannot be fully understood, the dynamics should at least be. Politics extends beyond the election season, who to vote for and who not to vote for. Politics is becoming more involved in the affairs of the government. It is you, being aware of what is going on in your immediate local government area, of residence or birth. While it is admirable to aim higher, women's political participation should not be constrained by the desire to become president. It could be as simple as running for the governor of one's home state or representing one's local government in the National Assembly or even educating yourself on which political party’s views align with yours.
However, in recent times, a lot has changed. So much more is going to change. Women's participation in politics will undoubtedly promote accountability, decisiveness and swift decision-making, no matter what level of government they are in. Looking at the legendary Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, we see that she served as the Finance Minister for the country twice and the Minister of Foreign Affairs. This falls under the umbrella of political participation we are talking about!
Despite this awakening, women still struggle to be heard in matters that affect them and are largely excluded from national and local decision-making bodies. For example, in my country Nigeria, only 18 out of the 360 (4. 61%) members of the House of Representatives are women; in the Senate, there are only eight women out of 109 members, representing 7.34%. Out of the 36 states in Nigeria, we have only 2 deputy governors as females. The same can be said for the world as globally, women make up just 21% of government ministers.
The lack of women in politics and other leadership positions is noted by Nigeria's Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen. She sees this as a major setback for the country’s advancement.
We as individuals play a very important role in ensuring that democratic decision-making is not limited to men alone; instead, we should stand up and encourage our colleagues, sisters, mothers, and closest friends to participate in political activities and ensure that their voice is heard.
1.Check out Politics4Her's blog which publishes articles that advocate for inclusive participation of young women and girls in politics.
2. Watch Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Speech at the 2022 International Women's Day Gala
3. Listen to the perspectives and views of women!
Shockingly (note the sarcasm), women do have opinions about politics. It is important to listen to the views of women, discuss, allow them challenge you and you them, respectfully of course. Let women have a say in what happens not only in their governments but even in unions, university societies etc.
4. Watch It's Time For More Women in Politics by Martina Fitzgerald at her TedxTrinityCollegeDublin Talk
5. Stop it with the Gender Stereotypes! Don't be afraid challenge sexist comments and gender stereotypes that slip women into domestic roles and nothing more. Call out your friends and loved ones that still have these beliefs. Don't forget to support and encourage women while you're at it.
6. Watch Women's Involvement in Politics by Muriel Collins at her TedxUniversityofMississipi Talk
7. Listen to the Talks4Her Podcast where you can learn about different topics, including politics, from a feminist standpoint
1. Read some facts and figures about Women's Leadership and Political Participation
ARTICLE WRITTEN BY Modupe O. Oreye.
Modupe O. Oreye is a bright and young law undergraduate presently pursuing her degree at the University of Benin, Nigeria. She is a change strategist and growth personnel with a committed passion for personal and career development, and student leadership in social and environmental spheres. Modupe is passionate about advocating for quality education, and human rights and taking social actions to advance these causes. She is a writer, a Linkedin optimisation person and a corporate compere as she is skilled in moderating social and online events.
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PROMPTS WRITTEN & ARTICLE EDITED BY Chizulu Uwolloh.
'Zulu is a writer, self proclaimed bibliophile and lawyer passionate about social impact and showing people how they can create change in their communities.
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