by Stella Ramsaroop
(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 19 October 2007)
I often wonder what it will take to change the stagnated political climate in Guyana. The AFC stirred things up for a bit when it first formed, but for all of the benefits of this new party, there have been no real shake-ups that would benefit the people of Guyana as a whole.
However, I think I may have found a way to really and truly shake things up in Guyanese politics. This idea is so brilliant that I am ashamed for not having thought of it first.
This week in India a group of women, who were tired of waiting for the men to get down to business, started an all-woman political party to offer an alternative to the traditionally male-dominated political parties in India.
The United Women Front (UWF) party intends to give special attention to issues affecting women like dowries (because the bride is such a burden on her husband even though she will clean, cook and bear children for him for the rest of her life) and abortion of female foetuses (kill the girl because a boy is far more valuable).
It is about time the women stood up for themselves. For example, there is bill in India’s Parliament requiring at least 33 percent of federal and state legislatures be reserved for women. This bill, called the Women’s Reservation Bill, has been pending in Parliament for over a decade!
According to newindpress.com, UWF President, Suman Krishan, said, “Despite having the second highest population in the world, of which women constitute 50 percent, the average representation of women in Parliament is a dismal low of just 8.8 per cent.” The world average is 17 percent, which is still pretty pathetic.
Krishan, who is also the wife of former Vice President Krishan Kant, continued, “Women in the country are discriminated against and are insecure. And through this front we want to ensure that the issues of priority concerning half the country's population come to the forefront in India's national agenda.”
The UWF says it thinks women are more “honest, more capable and more hardworking.” Well, you certainly won’t get a fight from me on that account. What a wonderfully proactive way for women to finally (after thousands of years of oppression) take things into their own hands instead of waiting for men to decide to care about the best interests of women.
This new development in India this week inspired me to consider all of the wonderful possibilities of an all-woman political party in Guyana. I am already convinced that some of the best leaders in Guyana are the female politicians. My mind simply cannot help but consider how a joint female effort could completely revamp the entire nation.
There is not a week that goes by that Guyana’s women are not begging for someone to do something about the violence against them. The educational system is in ruins and I would bet my bottom dollar that a bunch of women would take this issues far more seriously than it currently being taken.
The Red Thread continues to cry out for help for impoverished women and single mothers. Yet it seems these cries for help fall on the deaf ears of the male-dominated PPP administration. Sexual abuse against the nation’s children is another issue that would no doubt be on the forefront of an all-woman political party.
In fact, I believe if that if anyone can overcome the racial divide in Guyana – it is the women. When you get right down to the nitty-gritty, for a true demographic representation of the population, women should rightfully hold 50 percent of the seats in Parliament anyhow.
It seems to me that an all-woman political party in Guyana would help solve many of the nations social ills since many of those ills stem from the mal-treatment of women and the total disregard concerning the issues that most effect women.
Do not get me wrong; I emphatically do not want an all-woman dominated world. If history has proven anything, it is that humans need to have the benefit of both genders in leadership. However, at this point in time perhaps an all-woman political party would help to remedy the dreadful lack of female representation in government.
Let’s be honest for a brief moment. Men alone are just not doing a good job running the world. The world is in shambles and the future does not look very bright. On the recent MTV Video Music Awards in September, Sally Fields made a statement that got censored before airing on television.
She said, “If mothers ruled the world, there would be no goddamn wars in the first place.” This type of mentality is desperately needed at all levels of governmental leadership to curb the male appetite for aggression and domination that emerges from time to time.
One of the very few times anyone will see truly aggressive behaviour from a woman is when she is protecting her children, which is why a woman would rather use diplomatic efforts to settle an issue than to resort to armed conflict.
For centuries upon centuries it has been said that women have no place in government because their makeup is different from that of men. It is precisely for this reason that women should be in government. The feminine brings balance to masculine and vice versa.
Male leadership alone does not encompass all that is needed in governing humankind. Female leadership, with all of those wonderful feminine qualities, provide certain attributes and wisdom in which men have typically been found wanting.
There is no doubt that men and women are different on various levels. However, those differences do not make one gender better than the other. Rather, the differences provide humankind with even more unique possibilities by which to solve our problems.
An all-woman’s political party in Guyana could help jump start this process of joint leadership that should have existed throughout our entire existence. I can think of several qualified candidates to get this party up and running with the expectation that other female leaders would jump in as well.
Really, girls, how much longer will you sit around and wait for the men to care about the issues that effect Guyana’s women? India’s women waited for over a decade for a bill that still has not passed just to have 33 percent representation in Parliament (not 50 percent, as it should be).