Women and Politics

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Gender inequality takes various forms, and it exists in different parts of the world. Women and men have had different roles for decades, and this continues to be a problem in various countries. Inequality takes different forms, and it is manifested in different walks of life. One of the most common problems prevalent in societies and governments are the unequal representation of women in corporate and administrative positions. Nonetheless, civilization and the changing policies have come up with new trends and which have seen the role of women change in the society. Women are no longer seen as housewives or housekeepers who leave men to make all the decisions concerning the country but have also taken the front stage as far as administrative positions are concerned. Various countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom have seen the number of women in the political arena or political positions increase over the last few decades (Thorsten 1). Nonetheless, women are still under-represented in these countries. Other countries are struggling to value women as they are seen to be incapable of making the tough decisions concerning matters that affect the country. Culture and lack of empowerment are the leading reasons as to why women are under-represented in various countries of the world.

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The civil rights activists and organizations have done a tremendous job in fighting for the rights of the girl child. Initially, women were only left to handle family responsibilities and taking care of house chores. In the 1950s, the American women were seen as weak and incapable of handling the pressure that comes with taking responsibilities. Therefore, the roles of taking care of and providing for the family were left for men. Men used to work in the factories while women were left at home to take care of the children. The responsibility of earning money for the family was solely left to the husbands (Alesina et al. 469-530). There is nobody to blame for this misrepresentation as it was as a result of culture and the societal norms. Women were not allowed to participate in politics as they were not even allowed to vote.

This trend changed in the 1970s and due to civilization industrialization. With industrialization, the human needs increased and men were not able to take care of all the family needs by themselves. Women started getting involved in other activities in the family and society other than house chores. They started getting educated and competing for the same positions with men in the corporate ladder. By the end of the twentieth century, women were holding positions in political positions and were involved in life movements. The discrimination of women on gender slowly started to decrease, and the role of women in the society changed (Alesina et al. 469-530). The stereotypes that women were incapable of making tough decisions were broken; this can be illustrated by the increase in the number of women in the political arena. For example, a country like Rwanda has more women in parliament than men. The Rwanda case illustrates the trust people have on women as they can vote them to hold political offices and other positions in the government (Debusscher, and Ansoms 1111-1134). Nonetheless, despite these improvements, other countries are still struggling for gender equality in the politics as women are immensely under-represented.

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A country like Lithuania has made achievement as far as women representation in politics is concerned. It was the first country to have a female president, and this is recommendable. Nevertheless, they have failed to achieve equal representation. According to the Inter-Parliamentary Union statistics of 2009, the percentage of women in political positions in the country was only 18.8; this epitomizes how women have been poorly represented in the country. Also, just 37% of the women held administrative or public offices in the country. The reason behind this trend is because women rarely support each other (Shawn, and Firebaugh 1941-1968). An example is in the United States, a country which is yet to have a female president despite its civilization and economic mighty. Hillary Clinton, a well-known politician, ran for the presidency in 2016 but was defeated by Donald Trump, a man who had no history or experience in politics. The women failed to support her as the nation showed less trust in her leadership qualities by opting to elect inexperienced Trump who never held a political office before. The Clinton case illustrates that the societal norms and stereotypes that women were incapable of leading or holding high positions still exist. This stereotype was the undoing of Hillary Clinton’s presidential interests as people did not seem to trust her.

Another reason as to why women are misrepresented in the parliament is because of the duties that the societies have set for them. For example, the society believes that women have the responsibility of taking care of the family and doing other household chores. Therefore, it becomes difficult for women to hold political office and still take care of their private matters. In other words, they are required to work harder than men as they need to juggle between being politicians, taking care of their families and handling their private lives. These requirements are hard for most women, and they choose not to engage in political careers as a result (Thorsten 1). Despite their multi-tasking capabilities, it is difficult for anybody, leave alone women, to perfectly handle marriage life, the politics and the spotlight of the media as a result and family issues.

Resistance to change is another reason for gender misrepresentation of women in politics. As noted in the case of Hillary Clinton, people do not have full trust on women to take leadership positions or to make crucial decisions that affect the state. They are seen as compassionate and too honest to handle the responsibilities that come with high office. Therefore, many people choose to be led by men as opposed to women. According to studies, women can be good leaders as far as development is concerned, but the society still believes that they get short-handed when it comes to decisions relating to national security and military actions. This is a century old believe and it should have been done away with as some countries such as Lithuania and Liberia has proved that women can be as good leaders as men (Shawn, and Firebaugh 1941-1968). Liberia and Lithuania are developing countries who are led by female presidents. Despite being led by female leaders, these two countries are doing well regarding peace and economic growth; this represents the inappropriateness of the stereotypes surrounding women and leadership.

Developing countries in Africa and Asia register the lowest number of women in government. The primary reason behind this trend is that the women are not properly empowered regarding education and power. In these countries, women are married at a tender age of fifteen and, therefore, lack the opportunity going to school. Educating the girl child is not prioritized in these countries, and this leaves them lagging behind in matters of politics and other leadership positions. Without education, they cannot run for office since they do not have the necessary skills to lead (Lombardo 78-96). Therefore, they are left to take care of families and become housewives while the boy child goes to school which puts him in natural positions of leadership.

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In conclusion, Culture and lack of empowerment are the leading reasons as to why women are under-represented in various countries of the world. Gender inequality takes meant forms and has been prevalent in politics and government positions. Women are under-represented in the political arena because the society believes that they are incapable of holding high offices. Another reason is that women rarely support each other when it comes to running for political office which gives men the opportunity to lead. The cultural belief that men were made to lead while women are their followers is another reason why they are still under-represented. Lack of empowerment and education also contributes to this phenomenon as education puts people in a leadership position. It also gives them the necessary skills to lead. Education of the girl child is essential for landing women in leadership positions, and it should, therefore, be taken seriously. Also, early marriages should be tamed and abolished as they deny women the opportunity to further their education.

Did you like this sample?
  1. Alesina, Alberto, Paola Giuliano, and Nathan Nunn. “On the origins of gender roles: Women and the plough.” The Quarterly Journal of Economics 128.2 (2013): 469-530.
  2. Debusscher, Petra, and AAnsoms. “Gender equality policies in Rwanda: public relations or real transformations?” Development and Change 44.5 (2013): 1111-1134.
  3. Dorius, Shawn F., and Glenn Firebaugh.”Trends in global gender inequality.” Social Forces 88.5 (2010): 1941-1968.
  4. Lombardo, Emanuela. “Gender inequality in politics: Policy frames in Spain and the European Union.” International Feminist Journal of Politics 10.1 (2008): 78-96.
  5. Nilges, Thorsten. “Gender inequality in politics.” Mozaik (2005): 1.
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