COMMENTARY: Our Women Continue To Struggle In Politics 

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By:     Audley Phillip

Our Women Continue To Struggle In Politics 

Women and men have fought long and hard for women’s right to vote and hold public office.

Progress is clear. Today women in most  countries of the world have the right to vote.   . Several countries are led by females and some countries, such as Finland, also have a cabinet dominated by women. These achievements have been possible in large part thanks to gender equality measures.

But progress is slow and uneven. Women are still underrepresented in politics, parliaments and public life.

Attitudes towards women candidates are still largely characterized by deeply ingrained stereotypes, and political opponents will often use those stereotypes to question women’s capabilities.

There is a growing recognition that women in 2023 are marginalized from political and public life.

Women are putting themselves forward for elections more and more, yet their numbers are still far behind those of men.

Why is this the case? Even though it is widely accepted that development, peace and prosperity in societies cannot be achieved without them , women continue to be sidelined in decision-making. The stigma against women in politics is still alive and well.

They continue to face structural, socioeconomic, institutional and cultural barriers. Tackling those barriers takes effort on the part of every element of society whether it is government, civil society, the media, academia, the private sector, youth and yes, even men.

When it comes to national elections, no one works harder than women. They usually make up over 85 percent or more of the campaign workers. However when women run for high office, they always perform worse than men.

There is usually a substantial gender gap in political ambition and more men tend to have that ambition than women.

When we turn on the television, read the newspapers, or scan the internet, it is difficult not to see prominent women in politics in many other places.

We used to argue that the reason for women’s under representation is that they do not want to run for office but our recent general elections put that notion to rest.

Clearly we still have much bias in the political arena against women. We use women on the campaign trail to drum up support and we see them as just that……campaign hawks. Nobody can campaign like women!

Look at what happened in our elections just recently.  Of the 11 female candidates that contested the election on the ABLP, DNA and UPP slates combined, only one female won. And  my gut feeling tells me that the lone winner  only won because of who she is and the significant resources, monetary and otherwise that was put into ensuring that she won that seat. No other woman on either the ABLP, DNA or UPP benefited from the kinds of resources that she had at her disposal.

 

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8 COMMENTS

  1. I am going to predict that Gaston Browne and Maria Browne would fall very hard from grace. They would be falling worse than Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos. Ferdinand Marcos and Gaston Browne have the traits. They enriched themselves,immediate family and others close to them at the expenses of the people. Gaston Browne has a way of denigrading others and their lacking in experiences. What does Maria Browne brings to the table. Between them both,they are in control of all the valuable assets and Portfolios of the new Cabinet. If she as the Minister of Lands and Housing did such a piss poor work in the past. What would she be doing now with all of the additional responsibilities. You the people of Rural East and the Nation at large had better begin to band your bellies for what is to come.MEET THE NEW MINISTER OF WORKS.LAUGHTER!! FOR LAUGHTER IS THE BEST MEDICINE.

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    • Maria could in theory do a great job as Minister of Lands, Housing, Urban Development etc. As a woman, she would have good ideas as to what families need for Housing as well as be good at beautification of the capital etc. Men in the past haven’t completely solved those problems, have they? She might want to consult a bit with poorer women though before making plans to get a better idea of what are their must-haves and what they could do without to save costs and reduce prices to affordable levels. As a matter of fact, she probably should assemble an entire team of women to make plans for modernising and improving housing and the city then hand the plans over to the menfolk to do the heavy lifting. If men in Antigua consulted more with women before making decisions and taking action it is unlikely that our country would be in such a deplorable state.

  2. Personally as a woman, I don’t have a problem with more men being in leadership circles. Men are good at getting things done once they are following a good plan. But, I think men lead better when they take women’s opinions into consideration. Women should definitely have a voice when decisions are being made that affect them. Women bear the brunt of raising the next generation and can provide unique perspectives on what is best for children and families and hence securing the future.

  3. The difficulties that we women face in politics are in many ways a reflection of what happens in our society as a whole. The progress made would therefore indicative of progress made throughout our society. Progress is slow but progress is moving in the right direction.

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