Posted: November 27th, 2013
Strategies for Improving Women’s Political Participation
In today’s world, a good number of talented women are very ready to put their professional expertise in public life despite the fact that they are underrepresented in political leadership positions worldwide. It is always known that women are very great creatures because they tend to bring a different and a critical perspective into politics. Therefore, including women into politics is integral to vibrant development democratically (Lawless 45). Different countries worldwide have realized the importance of involving women into politics thus have launched programs in promoting women’s political participation. These programs are meant to encourage many women in taking part in making decisions. They also aim at motivating women to participate in the upcoming local government elections in their respective countries. The programs launched tend to base their goals on training potential women candidate in leadership skills, using the media effectively, negotiation skills, managing campaign, and voter identification understanding local government among other necessary issues. The participation of women in politics plays a significance part in the entire process of the development of women, thus their equal participation in making decisions is not a demand for justice but a necessary condition for the interests of women to be put into account.
According to research, it is difficult to achieve the objectives of equality, development and peace without allowing the participation of women and incorporating the perspectives of women at all levels of making decisions. Various surveys revealed that majority of the women were not participating in politics and that they did not see any connection between the development of the community and individual together with familial well-being. However, given the fact that women were not taking major part in politics, they are people of great sense of civil responsibility. Thus, they continue to live in hope that one day the local elections would change its perspective to more responsive, citizen-oriented forms of local powers.
Those women who agree to participate fully into the political activities and take the training are agreeing to share public policy on things that are affecting the societies and the country as a whole. Therefore, to exploit the greatness of the civil responsibility of women, the government is supposed to encourage more women to participate in politics. The programs launched should be friendly enough so that more women can be motivated to join politics. This is because women contribute a lot in achieving equality, peace and development of a country and by extension the world as a whole.
Another strategy that could be used in improving women’s political participation is by promoting equal rights between men and women. Due to democratic reforms in different countries, there have been enhanced commitments to issues concerning women rights with the inclusion of redefining the constitution’s basic meaning of the subject. Almost all government ministries and various agencies both at local and national levels have been directed to the process of accepting a gender mainstreaming strategy in the planning, implementation and monitoring of development policies and program. Equal rights between men and women in election process are promoted through these policies.
Different organizations such as donor agencies, civil society organizations and women organizations have been put in place in order to promote and enhance the political legislation party together with the general elections legislation focusing on the participation of women in politics. According to Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (2008), there was an introduction of a quota 25% for women participation in politics. Great efforts were added as a way of securing these quota systems and even strengthening them through the involvement of some measures like women vote women as well as participating in carrying out some media campaign. Therefore, through the formation of these organizations, a good number of women are bound to be motivated thus improving their participation in politics. More women are seriously needed in political field thus the government and other agencies should try their best to find better means that could encourage the women in taking part in politics for the betterment of the society and the world at large.
The major strategy that should be considered includes the recruitment of qualified women in political careers by providing them with the access starting from the lower levels to work levels that are more conducive to political leadership. These could consist of providing access to free community-based organizations, creating awareness on issues concerning women’s leadership skills, gendered political awareness. The political career for women should also include lobbying skills and networking, the basic knowledge and understanding of women’s issues generally. According to Abramovitz (2010), providing women with leadership training program could open up links that could be made between the larger groups of women and other politicians hence are encouraged by their fellow women. This is because when the young women under training program meet with the grown up women taking part in politics, chances of them being highly motivated are very high. Therefore, by allowing women to train in political careers from the start is a sure way of improving their participation in political field without any fear.
The government is also encouraged to try to reduce or eliminate the various barriers that are hindering women from taking part in politics. For instance, in most cases the structure of politics in many countries comprises of many men to women, the electoral system is never favorable to women and most of women candidates taking part in politics lack adequate financial assistance to support them as well as lack of a well-established training system hinder many women from participating in politics. Women also are torn between house duties and the public sector, unemployment rates among women are very high, lack of enough education, high rates of gendered traditional believes and ideology that politics is a dirty game. All these factors are barriers that make many women not to take part in politics. Therefore, for improvement of women in political participation, these barriers should be eliminated and enough support should be provided to any woman who desires to participate in politics at all level. This is because these women need more support whether emotional, financially or politically. They need someone who can hold their hands and give them encouragement to carry on. Hence, through these women will start gaining momentum to participate in the game of politics without fear.
Working together with women from the grassroots by civil society organizations helps them to understand politics, be empowered and hence participate in politics as a whole. Through this, the gap between the women representatives in parliament and others is closed thus creating a good and a friendly relationship among all parties (Rinehart 34). It is noted that the social and economic status of women determines their participation in politics. For instance, most women found in politics tend to have a relationship with the men politician either they are their wives or related in other ways. Thus, these women have enough support and exposure to political issues. Therefore, it is advisable that such women try to influence their fellow women by motivating them using various means to make them join the political field.
Many women are ready and willing to participate in politics; however, they have barriers that are hindering them from participating fully in the game. These include, lack of confidence, lack of enough financial support and lack of enough political leadership skills. Therefore, the government and other civil society have the duty to ensure that they lay down the necessary strategies that could improve women participation in politics. For instance, political training careers should be encouraged especially to women, working together from the grassroots among other strategies.
Abramovitz, Mimi. Under attack, fighting back: women and welfare in the United States.Michigan, MA: Monthly Review Press, 2010. Print.
Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development. Collation of laws on women’s political participation, Volume 1. Michigan, MA: APWLD, 2008. Print.
Lawless, Jennifer. It takes a candidate: why women don’t run for office. Cambridge, CA: Cambridge University Press, 2005. Print.
Rinehart, Sue. Gender and American Politics: Women, Men, and the Political Process. New York, NY: PM.E. Sharpe, 2005. Print.
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