The saying goes, “Women have many faults; men only have two: everything they say and everything they do.”When the proposed statement of “men and women are equally suited for politics” is given, one automatically focuses on whether women are equal to men, not the other way around. Therefore, I would disagree with this statement; men are not nearly as qualified for politics as women are.
Although there are fewer women in politics today, this is only due to a societal stigma that women have had to overcome in previous decades. Society itself is made of more women than men, yet men still rule the roost.
One woman that has surpassed the boundaries of politics is former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who said so eloquently, “In politics, when you want anything said, ask a man; if you want anything done, ask a woman.”
This isn?t to suggest that all men are incapable of acting; they just act with testosterone, rather than intelligence and emotion combined with ethics. Disappointingly, men still dominate both the judicial and legislative branches of government in most nations where democratic elections are held, and as we all know, the United States — supposedly the prototype for democracy and equality — is yet to have a female president.
When politicians preach incessantly about freedom and equality to non-democratic nations, they are digging a grave full of hypocrisy. Until a woman is fully accepted into the role of president of this nation, politicians cannot gloat about equality and how the United States is a model for other nations to follow.
Oddly enough, nations that the United States would consider to be second or thirdworld countries are surpassing the United States in terms of the number of women involved in politics.
According to Afrol News, an independent news agency covering Africa, women in the African nation of Rwanda topped the world?s rankings of women in national parliaments, with 49 percent representation, compared to a world average of slightly over 15 percent. Even after a period of reconstruction and recovery following the genocide of 1994, Rwandan women are making strides despite setbacks due to the death and humiliation suffered a decade ago.
Due to a new constitution in Rwanda, 24 out of 80 seats in the lower house of parliament are reserved for women.
After their election a year ago this month, 15 additional women were voted into nonreserved seats. In the upper house, six out of 20 seats are reserved for women. Rwandan women also pushed for a creation of a government ministry of women?s affairs to promote policies in favor of women?s interests. During post-conflict peace discussions, women at the table were critical to the cause.
United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan says that study after study has shown that there is no effective development strategy in which women don?t play a central role. When women are fully involved, he notes, the benefits are immediate — families are healthier and better fed, and their income, savings and investments go up. “And what is true of families is also true of communities and, in the long run, of whole countries,” Annan concludes.
Given this information, I?d say that men who act without full cognitive function and deliberation of consequences are those same men who wage wars, throw international relations out the window, and who give tax cuts when the country is in severe debt.
The studies that Annan spoke of prove that our families would be healthier and more financially sound with a woman in office. And when citizens experience prosperity, this ricochets, landing back in the pockets of the government and economy as a whole.
Erin Joyce is a senior majoring in Communication Studies.