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According to the National Democratic Institute chairperson Madeleine Albright, each society deserves the best leadership meaning women should be given a chance to participate in decision-making at various levels, both nationally and globally. The chairperson is of the view that each member of society, irrespective of gender, should be allowed to compete in elections. Going contrary to this would be depriving people of their rights and freedoms. Providing an enabling environment for individual fulfillment allows both genders to engage in politics and formulation of policy in government, which result in the development of democracy and its subsequent sustainability. In many parts of the world, women are underrepresented in government whereby they are never registered as voters.
During an electioneering process, the society tends to appreciate the views of men while neglecting the ideas of women, yet they play a major role in socio-economic and political development. Feminists underscore the fact that society cannot achieve its desired interests in case half of its population is underrepresented in policy formulation. Women face similar challenges globally ranging from political to socio-economic, but the solution lies with the government, as it is expected to formulate a stronger policy that will see many women participate in political activities. In this regard, women must be well represented in social movements, political parties, and government, as this would facilitate the creation of a stronger and effervescent society.
This article looks at how the society discriminates women in political activities. Regarding elected positions, women rarely find chances to participate fully while public appoints are skewed towards one gender. The paper starts by observing the importance of incorporating women in socio-political and economic development before analyzing the challenges facing their participation.
Why Involve Women
Studies show that many women across the world are interested in helping their societies reduce the conditions that bring about suffering through policy formulation and idea generation. Through this, social problems are likely to be addressed, especially those facing women, children, and the disadvantaged. For instance, many women across the world have special problems that would better be addressed by women leaders, including issues to do with reproductive health and security. The issue of abortion is purely a female problem because it mainly affects them, but it is unfortunate that only men are involved in the debate in various parliaments leading to discrimination. Again, participation of women in government and political activities is likely to promote honesty, as it has already been proved in South America and Europe that a female president does not support any act that would lead to misappropriation of funds. Based on this, the instances of corruption are likely to go down with the involvement of women in leadership.
One of the global problems facing the many governments is the issue of security since instances of terrorism and inter-ethnic wars are in the increase. Terrorists and other belligerent actors in the international system believe that women are soft sports and are likely to be targeted with an aim of intimidating the state and world leaders. If women are involved in peace building initiatives, a likelihood that these conflicts will reduce and the society will be a peaceful place for everyone to live is high (Henderson, Jeydel, & Henderson, 2010). World leaders are constantly engaged in talks to end conflicts, but better results would be achieved in case women are included in reconstruction and reconciliation efforts. In fact, peace agreements would be sustainable given the fact that they would be inclusive.
Studies show that no female leader would be supportive of a policy that insists on war because she knows that women and children would be the sufferers, as men have the ways of defending themselves. Recently, it has been proved that female leaders have the capacity of resolving conflicts. The US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, strongly opposed the idea of sending troops to Egypt and Libya with claims that children and women would suffer. In this case, he insisted on dialogue forcing the US to take a back seat in handling global issues for the first time in history.
States with women as presidents are known to support programs aiming at improving people’s educational levels, road and rail network, healthcare standards, and financial power. Germany is one such country that has one of the strongest female leaders in the modern times and she is supportive of economic and social development. Germany is a country with a long history of technological development, but its leadership has always let down the people because resources are channeled to military development and proliferation of weapons instead of developing the infrastructure. Hitler was among the leaders to have misused the country’s resources to engage in unnecessary wars that affected the economic development of the state for several years. Currently, Germany is one of the economic powerhouses in Europe to an extent of requesting to bail out states facing economic challenges with men as their leaders.
Britain achieved several economic objectives under Margaret Thatcher as the prime minister since she ended corruption by insisting on the privatization of public corporations that were almost being declared bankrupt because of mismanagement and misallocation of funds. In various Scandinavian countries, women leaders are mainly associated with socialist parties with the major aim of promoting health, education, and equality. In the Latin American region, Argentina and Chile made history by electing women to positions of influence when they voted for female presidents. In Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago, women were elected as prime ministers and their achievements are incomparable since they almost eliminated the problem that have been facing the region since independence, which is drug trafficking.
Brazil and Costa Rica are among the latest countries to have elected women as their heads of states and their performance confirm the assertion that women are never interested in conflicts, but instead they have the interests of the community at heart meaning they simply want to change things in society. Spain and Sweden are among countries in Europe to have elected female presidents when the society needed them most since they brought tremendous changes that proved the critics wrong.
Women are engaged in all sorts of campaigns to ensure they are involved in political processes, as well as government, but they have to do something extra to force their way out since they are trapped in unproductive culture, male chauvinism, and a complex social structure that do not support their normal living. Right from childhood, a woman knows that she has to respect men meaning they live under a state of false consciousness since physical features should not be used to subjugate a section of society. The percentage of women both in elected and appointed positions is always varies in several countries in the sense that it always below par.
Based on this, women do not have the numbers needed to bring about changes in political processes and leadership in government. Many countries have realized the problem whereby affirmative action is meant to bring fairness, but women are still faced with the challenge of convincing society to accept them as genuine leaders aiming at instituting reforms that would benefit each individual. When women seek political offices, they are always viewed negatively since many are accused of trying to change the social structure radically, which would result in anomy or formlessness. In Argentina, at least forty percent of all positions were taken over by women in the lower house in 2009, but it is unfortunate that only eight percent of all positions went to women in Colombia.
Somebody wonders why women are underrepresented in various countries, but the answer lies with the country’s electoral laws because women are not given adequate protection. In electoral systems that favor proportional representations, Paxton and Hughes (2014) are of the view that many women are likely to be elected as opposed to the majority system, which means plurinominal election districts, as well as the legislative quotas play a significant role in ensuring that women are elected to positions of influence.
Political parties are to blame for the tribulations of women as far as election to high positions and government appointments are concerned since they ensure that only men nominated for elections and this trend is common in the developing countries whereby parties are private properties owned, financed, and controlled by a single individual. In this case, a woman is expected to bend low for her to be given nomination, something proving that internal democracy in parties is a matter of concern for many women across the world, which prevents their chances of success. In case a political party is elected to office, its members are likely to ensure that their close confidants, who helped them in campaigns either financially or morally, are awarded with prestigious positions, such as ambassador, cabinet secretaries, principal secretaries, and heads of key public corporations.
Unfortunately, women are rarely considered when making important appointments and their presence in cabinet is simply for publicity because they are given inferior positions that do not give them an opportunity to influence policy formulation process. Other issues, such as ethnicity and socio-economic statuses, worsen the situation for women. The prevailing conditions cannot allow women to participate fully in political activities because parties in the modern society play a critical role in power acquisition, something suggesting that women will continue facing the same problem unless something is done to increase their participation. A political party decides who gets the position of influence meaning they are gatekeepers of women’s progress as far as parity is concerned.
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Women have never enjoyed their political rights and freedoms since time in memorial and things are not expected to change any soon because of the rigid social structure, defective culture, and lack of good will since their empowerment is viewed as a threat to the interests of men. Through feminism, women have achieved several objectives, but they have a long away because their participation is low in many countries. It is noted that women are likely to increase their chances of participation in political activities in case they are considered equal partners in political parties.
Henderson, S., Jeydel, A. S., & Henderson, S. (2010). Women and politics in a global world. New York: Oxford University Press. Web.
Paxton, P. M., & Hughes, M. M. (2014). Women, politics, and power: A global perspective. Oxford: University of Oxford. Web.