Women have made long strides towards attaining independence, authority and opportunity. On the domestic front, women are experts at a tensile brand of quiet authority and no one can deny that she wields — without lifting a finger and by virtue of sheer existence — an outsize, open-ended, irrevocable influence in life.
Nevertheless, for a few thousand years women had no history. Marriage was our calling and meekness our virtue but now what has been traditionally considered female traits — strong communication skills, a collaboration instinct a gift of juggling emotional intelligence are hailed as desirable leadership qualities.
Over the last century, in stuttering succession, we have gained a voice, a vote, a room, decorously or defiantly. Women have begun to transform the idea of power which had for so long been a male construct.
Across the board, women are separating success from purpose, focusing less on titles, careers or status but rather more on accomplishments, influence and responsibility.
Nonetheless, even with this considerable amount of success, a glance at the proportion of women in public positions of power today versus their male counterparts still reveals that we have a long way to go.
Today, in most countries, women still face extra challenges when pursuing public positions. The motion on the two-thirds gender rule has recently amassed strong protests among respective quarters, especially women leaders. The rule that will unlock the current gender impasse without acrimony placing women in key decision making arms of government seeks to increase the female voice in national issues.
However, democracy specifically in elective processes call for competition and it’s about time women stepped up to the task.
Internationally, women in power such as Hillary Clinton (now vying for POTUS in the 2016 elections) and former Australian PM Julia Gillard, continue to inspire women to go for top leadership positions.
Liberians, for instance, did not vote in Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf as President based on her gender but her abilities as a leader. Margaret Thatcher was also Britain’s PM for 11 years and fought hard to retain her seat without the expectation for favours just because she was a woman.
Sexism and gender should never be a political issue, neither are manners, respect or courtesy. Women who intend to occupy the positions that will be availed should rise to the reality and create the requisite atmosphere to competitively participate in elective posts to join the legislature and county assemblies. Handling issues much less like outsiders but equal competitors to the political process.
This article was published on the May 16 2015 in People Daily Kenya