UNIVERSITY OF NAIROBI
INSTITUTE OF AFRICAN AND GENDER STUDIES
EVENING CLASS: MODULE 2
Social class, status, and power are predetermined by one’s gender. Within today’s patriarchal society, men simply possess greater power than women, “and enjoy greater access to what is valued by the social group.” (Code 1993), Patriarchal thought produces male dominance, and authority within multiple areas, including politics. Throughout history, governments have designed laws to maintain such divisions of power, resulting in the oppression of women. “Patriarchal power relations construct sexual differences as political differences by giving legal form to the belief that women, because of their sex, are fit only to serve as wives and mothers.” (Vickers 1997, 8) One must question how women can achieve greater influence within the male political arena if they are not viewed as equal? How are determined women attempting to change their position within society, regarding politics? Multiple changes have been made throughout history regarding the place of women in society, but are they leading towards equality? The main goal of the women’s movement was basic citizenship rights for women. For decades, many of the first women’s groups strived for their civil and political rights as women. Their central focus was the right to vote, and the right to run for office. The purpose was to claim a role in democratic politics. Many believed that in order to attain political goals, the right to vote was vital. The women’s movement “has touched the lives of many Canadian women, radically transforming the nature of their everyday experiences.” (Burt 1993) Women assumed that once the right to vote was granted, equality in the eyes of males was soon to follow, along with their new influence within politics. WOMEN IN POLITICS
The role of women in society has been quite insignificant form the beginning of time. Life was organized by men. Women had no rights until 1893 when the first women were given the right to vote in parliamentary elections in New Zealand. After this women's rights began to spread around the world until first female president was elected in Argentina. Should women take part in politics or the policy is only for men? Women are different from men in terms of their character; they may have some natural advantages over men. They make policy much more colorful and diverse. Women have their mother instinct; this instinct gives them support in handling politics. Women are much more careful and reliable than men. Also they are more honest and a lot more organized than men. It can also be seen in politics. For example, women may be better in social policy or in other related fields. They may be much more qualified to deal with pensions, child benefits and other similar topics. Against it, unfortunately women usually will make emotion based decisions, which can be quite fatal at wrong moment in politics. In addition women egos don't come in the way as in the case of men. Women are more willing to explore compromise and seek other people's opinions. Women able to listen others and create world with out war, that means they can make better politicians. Perhaps it is a mistake to think that women in politics protect only the interests of women. Common belief is that men are doing general things and women are doing women stuff. Women should not go into politics to add tenderness to politics. Women should be represented everywhere, including government because they are also consumers and workers like men. Participation of women in top political adds freedom to the voters. When there is a hope of getting a woman as prime minister or president, then women will vote for women candidate, even when he does not represent the views of the people. Women's participation in politics goes far beyond their numbers in elected bodies. In all major political movements of this century, in all movements of social change, women have played an...
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