Women in Politics: Overcoming the Gender Disparity

Gender disparity is described as the idea or perception that individual is unequally treated wholly or partly due to their gender.[1] It is rather influenced by gender stereotypes and perceptions which are usually passed from one individual to another which usually begins from an early age. This disparity has rather caused a hindrance to many women around the world especially those venturing in the male dominated positions: for instance, politics.

Politics have been dominated by male figures for over many years now and recently many more women have emerged and proved to be able to also dominate in this environment. However, it has never been an easy road for these women; as they are faced with both cultural and structural barriers.

These barriers have acted as a bar towards minimizing the gender gap in politics. Moreover, despite a great number of efforts made by leaders towards understanding and minimizing the gender gap and also increasing women’s political power in this field; women still remain the highest rated marginalized group. This explains why there is a scarcity of female candidates and elected officials.

Furthermore, it also challenges the rights of women, their liberty, and freedom; also imposes a stumbling block in nurturing and empowering women into taking leadership roles. Though there may be challenges, more and more women are rising; taking a bold step in becoming political leaders, government officials and this tendency is still persistent. Rwanda is one of the countries with the highest women officials who are political leaders, government officials around the world leading to the increase of gender equality within the country. This is a clear indicator to other states that women can also contribute to the political field of the state and also a transparent way of empowering women.

The notion of women empowerment is a crucial and rooted concept which all head of states should take with urgency. This can be done in various ways such as implementing International human rights standard within their constitutional boundaries, encouraging more women in the political fields etc. That is why the United Nations came up with avenues that would increase and strengthen the women’s participation in politics. These include: equalization of educational opportunities, quotas for female participation in governing bodies legislative reforms to increase focus on issues concerning women and children, financing gender-responsive budgets to equally take into account the needs of women and men.

The above avenues can only strengthen and increase female participation if only countries equally implement these avenues transparently. However, heads of states should not only dwell on the mentioned avenues, another strategy could be holding summits; which are primarily focused on discussing ways in which women can be strengthened in the political era. Holding such can help women already in the political fields share ideas, experiences with other women so as to break free from all the barriers or chains holding women back from continuing in the political field. Just as Nelson Mandela said; ‘freedom can be achieved if women are emancipated from all forms of discrimination’, this also includes gender disparity. Gender equality is a strategic way to freedom. Women should not be tolerated but rather accepted.

Bibliography

[1] Gender equality. Wikipedia.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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LESEGO GAETWESEPE

Lesego Gaetwesepe is a law graduate and she is intrinsically passionate about human rights, community building and empowering young people. She is a participant at the YALI Regional Leadership Center in Southern Africa and was also part of the #ageofconsent project. She was also part of a project facilitated by NACA (NATIONAL AIDS COORDINATING AGENCY). Ms Lesego is currently a volunteer at Gogontlejang Phaladi Pillar of Hope Project and also represents the organisation at the UNESCO Pan African Youth Network for building a Culture of Peace, and she is also taking up training as an ASFL (African Students for Liberty) Local Coordinator.

 

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