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Breaking the Glass Ceiling (?): Women in Politics

Markéta Šonková Markéta Šonková / Ed. 13. 12. 2017
Breaking the Glass Ceiling (?): Women in Politics
photo ROLL CALL PORTION OF CQ ROLL CALL COLLECTION AT THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS, NO KNOWN COPYRIGHT RESTRICTIONS

Markéta Šonková published an article on the position and situation of women in the top politics of English-speaking countries.

In 2017, women in English-speaking countries can hold the most senior political offices, yet not many do. There have been, for example, only two female Prime Ministers in the long history of the office in Britain, which otherwise count 74 men to have held the post since Sir Robert Walpole at the beginning of the 18th century. And although women could become sovereign monarchs, it was only in 2013 when the laws of succession to the British throne changed the primogeniture clause and made the succession not dependent on gender. Furthermore, in the U.S., there has never been a female POTUS, while there is currently a male POTUS number 45 sitting in the Oval Office.

Positive discrimination and quotas tend to be a sensitive topic regardless of the area they are supposed to be enforced in. It is beyond the scope and expertise of this article to examine their effects and possible implications. Nonetheless, positive discrimination aside, in 2017, it seems rather absurd to still have to justify why women should have equal treatment and opportunities as men in the world of politics. Among other things, if only part of the population is represented, how can it be ensured that the rights and needs of those who are under-represented are properly reflected. Additionally, having more women aboard can help penetrate the often-criticized political “men’s club” establishment culture. Last but not least, women can help with bringing new ideas and points of view at the table. The list could go on.

Quoting hard facts, about 50% of the population and give or take 20% representation does not seem balanced. During the 2015 election in Canada, Justin Trudeau made a promise to make 50 per cent of his future cabinet ministers women and he delivered. Although much debate has been going on, thanks to him, there is at least one closely-watched “case study” of a balanced cabinet in the Western English-speaking world. While in 2017, the UK government “has rejected all six proposals to give parliament more equal female representation, prepared by the Commons’ women and equalities committee, including fines for parties that do not select enough women as candidates,” purportedly because of “additional regulatory burden” the regulation would impose on parties, writes The Guardian. The Obama administration, too, introduced legislation and rules to increase gender parity, many of which are now being quashed – and not only rhetorically – by the current administration.

Mistakes of female politicians are often magnified and there is a need to change both the perception and narrative.

Šonková

You can read the article in full here.

Originally published: Breaking the Glass Ceiling (?): Women in Politics

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