In ages past, the woman has been known to be that domestic Goddess. In fact she was that person whose name suggests (still existent though) inferiority, hypocrisy or condescension, she is expected to be smart but never smarter than a man as the writer of ‘’In the Chest of a Woman” puts it.
Today, talk of a woman and she is that person who has risen from the ashes and soared to a new plane of existence, unfettered by the things that once posed such resistance, she is that person who is remarkably front lining the development of society by judiciously utilizing her multi-dimensional skills right from managing her home to that of society’s environmental, political, social and economic affairs. She is all powerful yet soft, strong yet delicate, sexy yet demure, creative yet strategic, outspoken yet understanding, she is indeed that good girl who is equally bad.
Man is essentially a social animal who cannot attain complete happiness except in social and political dependence on his fellow man according to Aristotle. For these, right from Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, the contractualists down to Machiavelli, all laboured to make case for a good society based on what they understand as justice and equity.
Politics being a natural tendency unavoidable by society is a multifaceted word which has received countless views from scholars. Harold Lasswell whose definition is commonly referred to will be resorted to for the essence of this discourse.
According to Harold Lasswell (1936), “Politics is who gets What, When and How”. The “Who” here encompasses all sexes, both male and females, young and old, able or disable and the list continues. The “What” talking about the interest of the ‘’Who” be it power or liberation, any item of interest whereas the ‘’When” and “How” addresses the duration and the means deployed in ensuring that one gets what he or she wants.
The on-going debate of women in politics has witnessed reports of psychological rather than physical violence: a daily ritual of sexism and misogyny from family members as well as community and political colleagues from female politicians even though their contribution to the global economy cannot be underestimated.
Globally, 157.0 million are females (50.8 percent) against 151.8 million being males (49.2 percent) as of 2010 population census. Even though women form a greater percentage of the population globally, they remain under represented in the decision making processes.
Research has it that women play an important role in campaigning and mobilizing votes during elections but are rarely considered for high-level political positions. In fact, the political nature of women can be dated way back to the days of man’s very existence where Eve was able to dialogue with the snake and still went ahead to influence Adam to consume the apple, she got her husband to what she wanted at a particular time and that defines the generally accepted definition of Lasswell . The likes of Samira Bawumia of Ghana can never be underestimated towards the victory of the National Patriotic Party (NPP) in 2016.
The narrative has been improving in this age of exploration. The globe is increasingly recognizing the untapped capacity and talents of women and women’s leadership. Over the last two decades, the rate of women’s representation in national parliaments globally has increased from 11.8 percent in 1998 to 17.8 percent in 2008 and to 23.5 percent in 2018. Some regions have seen particularly dramatic increases, such as Sub-Saharan Africa, where in the last 20 years the number of women in parliaments has risen from 11 percent to 23.6 percent, and the Arab States region, which has seen an increase from 3.1 percent to 17.5 percent. Total global representation is still well below the 30 percent benchmark often identified as the necessary level of representation to achieve a “critical mass” – a considerable minority of all legislators with significant impact, rather than a token few individuals – not to mention falling short of women’s representation as half of the world’s population. (www.WomenDeliver.org)
There is enough evidence that as more women are elected to office, there is a corollary increase in policy making that emphasizes quality of life and reflects the priorities of families, women, and ethnic and racial minorities.
Her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia who is known to be the best President the country has ever had was a female President who restored peace in a country that was ripped apart for 14years in civil war, it was under her leadership that the economy of Liberia was transformed from negative to about 8.7% in 2013. The establishment of right to free universal elementary education cannot be mentioned in Liberia without reference to her. She broke the glass ceiling, inspiring women within and across the globe to involve their selves in the politics of society.
Talk of Saara Kuugongehua-Amadhila of Namibia and the credit of keeping Namibia under serious fiscal discipline which resulted in the country’s first budget surplus in 2003 whilst she was the Minister of Finance will echo her name resoundingly.
Madam Charlotte Osei of Ghana being the first lady to chair the Electoral Commission since independence has portrayed firmness, boldness and an up to task in the 2016 elections which led to the peaceful elections that year.
Hannah Tetteh currently Director-General of the United Nations Office at Nairobi (UNON) played a massive role in the 2008 presidential campaign and management of a party’s communication strategy for that election which made her a more prominent political figure leading to her recognition as one of the main spokespersons for the NDC.
Notably, Madam Paulina Patience Abayage currently the Upper East Regional Minster has been on the airwaves because of her active role to the development of the region. Ranging from using social media to sell-out the region to connecting with the grass root leaders (Chiefs, Elders, youth,…..) in developing the region.
I can keep going on and on with the list but it remains indubitable that the multifaceted values women bring in terms of lowering poverty, increasing business performance, and protecting the environment from unsustainable activities is very essential in nation building. Women in politics ensure that decisions are made to favour children, women, their husbands, the physically challenged and society as a whole.
The task of the day is for both men and women to be sensitized to clear that deep seated misconception that politics is for men. Women should be empowered educationally and economically so as to compete openly with their male counterparts. Yes! In the chest of a woman is not only an extension of the breast and a feeble heart, but a strong desire to hold and use power “Efo Kudjo Mawugbe”.
ISSAH MUSAH AZIBA (WRITER).
Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology
Department of History and Political Studies