“The day will come when men will recognize woman as his peer, not only at the fireside, but in councils of the nation. Then, and not until then, will there be the perfect comradeship, the ideal union between the sexes that shall result in the highest development of the race. ” –Susan B. Anthony
“Men rule because women let them. Male misogyny is real enough, and it has dreadful consequences, but female misogyny is what keeps women out of power.” – Germaine Greer
There is a tendency to compare women with snails. Some people in UK say, ‘A snail could crawl the entire length of the Great Wall of China in 212 years, just slightly longer than the 200 years it will take for women to be equally represented in Parliament.’ But women are not like snails. Male-dominated systems always prevent women from going ahead.
Today women constitute 19 percent of the members of parliaments around the world. Women have been deprived of equal access to education, health care, capital,decision making powers in the political, social, and business sectors only because they are women. The number of women in politics is now growing but the speed is very slow. But we need a gender balance in political institutions. The introduction of quota systems for women represents a qualitative jump into a policy of exact goals. Many people are against quotas for women. But there are many people who believe that:
‘Quotas for women do not discriminate, but compensate for actual barriers that prevent women from their fair share of the political seats.
Quotas imply that there are several women together in a committee or assembly, thus minimizing the stress often experienced by the token women.
Women have the right as citizens to equal representation.
Women’s experiences are needed in political life.
Election is about representation, not educational qualifications.
Women are just as qualified as men, but women’s qualifications are downgraded and minimized in a male-dominated political system.
It is in fact the political parties that control the nominations, not primarily the voters who decide who gets elected; therefore quotas are not violations of voters’ rights.
Introducing quotas may cause conflicts, but may be only temporarily.
Quotas can contribute to a process of democratization by making the nomination process more transparent and formalized.’
Most quotas aim at increasing women’s representation. Among different types of quotas, voluntary party quotas are the best. Political parties should nominate women as 50% of the candidates for elections.
How many women are in parliaments of different countries? In Nordic countries 42.0%, Americas 22.7%, Europe 20.9%, Sub-Saharan Africa 19.8%, Asia 18.8%, Pacific Islands 12.4%, Arab States 11.7%.
Percentage of women in national parliaments: Rwanda 56.3%,Cuba 45.2%, Sweden 44.7%, Finland 42.5%,The Netherlands 40.7%, Nicaragua 40.2%, Iceland 39.7%, Norway 39.6%, Denmark 39.1%, Costa Rica 38.6%, Belgium 38.0%, Nepal 33.2%, Afghanistan 27.7%, Iraq 25.2%, Australia 24.7%, Pakistan 22.5%, UK 22.3%, China 21.3%, Bangladesh 19.7%, United Arab Emirates 17.5%, USA 16.9%, Ireland 15.1%, Russian Federation 13.6%, India 11.0%, Japan 10.8%, SriLanka 5.8%, Myanmar 3.5%, Egypt 2.0%, Yemen 0.3%, Kuwait 0.0%, Qatar 0.0%, Saudi Arabia 0.0% etc.
Only 18.9% women were in the French parliament.
Everything has changed just a few days ago. New French president appointed a government that contains equal numbers of women and men for the first time in France. French women didn’t get the right to vote before 1945. Like all feminist organizations I salute the French president for the appointment of a women’s rights minister. Every country should have a women’s rights minister until women get complete equality.
Women now take half of posts in French cabinet. French women have character, confidence, courage. They can change the world.