Why Women in Politics Makes a Difference
When we ran an event earlier this year on #BringBackOurGirls – the Nigerian kidnapping of about 200 girls, we were inspired to continue momentum on ths issues raised that evening. When Dr. Arese Carrington mentioned that one way to improve the lives of girls is to have better representation in politics, the idea stuck.
Women in power positions and politics as a way to improve the lives of girls; this makes sense.
Focusing on Nigeria, Women’s Forum hosted an event on September 22nd hosted an event to discuss this idea. The event began with a screening of the short award winning film “Dreams of Nigeria” (which you should watch on youtube here). “Dreams for Nigeria” is a documentary that highlights challenges and achievements of women politicians in Nigeria. In the documentary, seven women politicians explain about the challenges they face day to day being politicians. They also share the roles that they play in social, economic, and political development in their constituents, with education and better health care being their outmost concern. These women “hope to be models to Nigeria’s youth and present a diverse and unified Nigeria where everyday dreams are attainable.”
Following the movie, we were treated to a discussion with Professor Valentine Moghadam, Director of International Programs and Professor of Sociology at Northeastern University. Her areas of research are globalization, transnational feminist networks, civil society and citizenship, and gender and development in the Middle East and North Africa – clearly an expert on the subject. She had even met in person some of the women politicians in the documentary!
The main focus of the conversation was why it is important for women to have access to politics. Here are some things we came up with
- Women tend to have a better understanding about certain aspects of the world – reproduction, child rearing, other such women’s issues (commonly referred to as ‘Standpoint Theory’)
- Women tend to be more consultative and better take into account guidance from their constituents
- Women are more likely to reach across the aisle to come to a consensus
- Women prioritize social issues!
- Even if for no other reason, women are 50%+ of the population so should have 50% of representation in politics!
Conversation at the event was passionate and varied – why stop at discussing women in politics? How would it change local and global policies if women were in charge of, say, oil companies?
Why do you think it has been so hard for women to break through the glass ceiling of politics worldwide?
Check out this website for some more interesting facts about women in politics! http://ipu.org/iss-e/women.htm