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May 19 2012

Bravo, France!

“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.

10 comments

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  1. 1
    mynameischeese

    Ireland: Only 15% of the Dail is female. :(

  2. 2
    Ibis3, Let's burn some bridges

    Canada
    24.7% in the HoC (the highest percentage of female candidates in the last election ran for the NDP at just over 40%)
    37.9% in the Senate (for which there is no excuse–the Senate is entirely appointed)
    Slightly better is the Supreme Court: 4/9 Justices are women, including the Chief Justice, Beverly McLachlin. However, one of the women just announced her pending retirement, so we could quickly drop to 3/9 if Harper appoints another man.

  3. 3
    BinJabreel

    Holy crap. Way to go France.

    Now I wonder if there’s going to be any French newspapers with the headline, “L’Homme Blanc Ne Doit Pas S’Appliquer”, like we had in America when Obama had the audacity to appoint two women to the Supreme Court.

    And a women’s right’s minister… Didn’t we used to have one of those? Oh, right… Reagan put a stop to that.

  4. 4
    Mary2

    In Australia we have our first female Prime Minister and it has been both interesting and saddening to hear the misogyny which has entered our political discourse.

    People consider her failures to be not the fault of her politics, but the fault of her gender.

    There have been double-standards applied to her because she is female – the fact that she overthrew the sitting PM from her own party to take the lead has been condemned in far stronger terms than it has been when a man has overthrown another man (a sitting PM has been ousted by his own party twice previously in our history).

    Even the leader of the opposition has seen fit to criticise her for her fashion sense (this from a man who knots his tie like a school kid) – publicly remarking that she chooses inappropriate jackets to hide her unflattering shape.

    Several comments from high profile people have been made linking her choice not to have children with an inability to empathise with the rest of us. Another politician even referred to her as ‘deliberately barren’.

    The fact that she has given us many legitimate political reasons to be dissatisfied with her has made it more surprising that people have felt it necessary to resort to sexism.

  5. 5
    JG

    50% of women would be a hell of a lot of people to nominate. ;-)

    1. 5.1
      Taslima Nasreen

      Thank you for correcting me.

  6. 6
    Phillip Helbig

    Just being female is not enough. I would rather have most male politicians than Maggie Thatcher any day.

  7. 7
    Chandan Srivastava

    in INDIA dere is already exist a ministry of women and child development since 1985. Krishna Tirath is d minister of dis ministry

  8. 8
    TANMOY CHAKRABORTY

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  9. 9
    Buy Direct

    I think this is among the so much important info for me. And i am glad studying your article. But wanna remark on some normal things, The site taste is wonderful, the articles is really nice : D. Good process, cheers

  1. 10
    Bravo, France! | Indus Asia Online Journal (iaoj)

    [...] Courtesy: FTB [...]

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