Friday, November 28, 2008

What Is True Democracy In The World With Women Excluded?

What Is True Democracy In The World With Women Excluded?


Paul I. Adujie

New York, United States

Watching all the events in the world, it has become clear that women all over the world continue to endure a second class position in public policy formulations and implementations, this is of course saddening given the fact that women constitute the majority in populations of every country on God’s earth! True democracy is about numbers!

Women are the majority, but they frequently do not occupy positions of power and this is so, notwithstanding their superiority in numbers! I grew up in a household with parents who had mutual respect for each other, but even though so, my mother always deferred to my father in almost everything! She was the manager of resources, she was the planner, she was the family’s budget director, she was the organizer and the ultimate diplomat, but my father remained the symbol and authority over all of us, my father was kind and fair minded person, but he was always the harsh disciplinarian, whereas my mother was the one who pampered us, she was the one who explained the whys of sun rise and sun sets, she was the kindler gentler of my parents!

Women in general, good women, are like my mother, nurturer, kindler gentler persons, they know what is important, raising children properly, instilling morals, good values and the things that are important to societies and the world, most women are not hawkish in the mode of Dr. Condoleeza Rice or Ms. Jeanne Kirkpatrick, most women want peace and not wars, if there were more women in political leadership positions the world over?

Most countries would have been spending money on bread and butter as opposed to WMD, guns, ammunitions and bullets! Why are so few women on the political landscape? Are men to blame? Do women cooperate with themselves enough to enthrone themselves? Are women organized and cohesive enough? But why is it? That this is happening, even in this twenty first century? Women are still relegated to the background? The USA prides itself as the home of equality, freedom, democracy and liberated women, but the truth however is, American women are really not faring better than their counterparts the world over!

There has never been an American woman president, vice president or Speaker of US House of Representatives! And there are very few states in the US where women are governors, the number of female governors actually increased two years ago, but it is still just a mere handful! Out of 50 states in the USA, about 5 states have women as governors! And in all of American history, no major institutions are named after great women, not roads, not Airports, not major Highways named after women, none! Like Dulles and JFK Airports named after men! Madison Avenue, Lafayette Avenue etc In Nigeria, the Nigerian Television Authority more than twenty years ago, elevated women to news anchor positions, anchors like Funmi Odubekun, Ruth Benamaisa, Siene All-Brown, and Nigeria has always had, pre and post natal and maternity vacation up to six months with pay, in America on the other hand, Leslie Stahl, Connie Chung and Jane Pauley are not in the league of anchors like Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw and Peter Jennings in pay, prominence and even longevity on prime time news anchoring in America and they are just a couple of years ladies of the tube, unlike their Nigerian ladies versions that are more than a quarter century old in prime time television anchoring!

The Americans only recently approved the so-called Family Leave Act that guarantees married women etc nearly as much pre-post natal maternity vacations similar to what Nigerian women have been enjoying for decades! Again, so-called Third World countries have been faster in trusting women with political powers and leadership reigns! India produced Indira Ghandi, Israel produced Golda Meir, Pakistan produced Benazir Bhutto, the Philippines produced Corazon Aquino and Panama produced Victoria Chamorro, and these countries are mostly traditional societies and very religious as well, without the Western Democracies pretensions of equality for all and scream of egalitarianism etc. Women in America have made some sizeable strides, in political participation and lobby, the establishment of Emily’s List is an attempt at political growth, Emily’s List gets women involvement in public issue debates and encouragement women to turn out in high numbers to vote, but sadly, the votes are mostly for men so far.

Women are in the majority, in every country’s population, but why can’t they unite and elect themselves? And ensure that their sons and daughters vote for them? Ensure that their husbands, boyfriends and their fathers vote for them? How come women do not have political power, even though they are in a majority? How can any country claim to be truly democratic when women are shut out and kept out? Why are countries continuing to waste the valuable resource that womenfolk are?

I permanently wonder at what could have been if the world had put the vast contribution in talents and creativity that women possess! Ms. Bethune Ms. Maya Angelou Mrs. Kuti, Dr. Ezeokoli Ms. Susan B Anthony, Ms. Gloria Steinem and my dear mother, could all have made good presidents! How come women cannot convince other women or the womenfolk to vote for selves? How come women cannot conspire? Can women successfully overthrow men and be sufficiently against men and men’s life long usurpation of political and economic powers, why is it that, men who are outside of the earth’s majority population control the world? (why not the women?) Why can’t women control us the men? Can the phenomena of women’s absence in leadership positions be explained, just by saying women’s checkered and oppressed history and culture made is so? Is this sufficiently responsible? Why cant women conspire against us? Women are the source of men’s live, every president, governor or prime minister on earth is born of a woman!

How come, men turn into some sort of economic and political Frankenstein against women from whom all men came? As Randall Robinson of Trans Africa fame, once advised married men, “if you want a happy and successful marriage? Do as you are told by your wife!” Why cant this apply to politics and world leadership? Yes, why not?! I personally know a lot of women as ultimate diplomats in many uncountable ways and unquantifiable ways, you would think then, that women’s political ascendancy should have be a walk-in-the-Park?

Women are excellent bargainers and wonderful negotiators, women are very often get what they want and need, it is time that the womenfolk all over the world use these same attributes, qualities and experience in dealing with men as sons, husbands, fathers etc, Use these same skills to wrest political power from us men, that would be true democracy! Women are in the majority, that means, women constitute, the majority and that the bulk of productive human activities are undertaken by women, Then it means that if we put women in charge of world affairs, the world will have authentic and genuine democracy everywhere, and the world will become what it should have been all along, a true democracy of leadership determined by the majority of the world population, women!

When this is practiced in every country all over the world, the world will be better for it! God has always blessed Nigeria and will continue to do so, eve more abundantly!

Paul I. Adujie is a Nigerian Lawyer and Information Technology Professional.

July 2003

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