The New Times (Kigali)

2 February 2013

Rwanda: My Female President?

column

I sincerely hope this is not viewed as controversial in itself because I am a man, tackling societal issues of women and power.

The recent trend shows us that Rwanda has embraced women emancipation to an estimable extent. At 56 per cent of women occupying parliamentarian seats, Rwanda presents the highest ratio of women in any national parliament in the entire globe. We boast of having 14 Supreme Court justices of which 50 per cent of them are women.

President Kagame's administration has surpassed constitutional point of reference of 30 per cent women participation in influential and leadership positions across the public sector. There are many more milestones that could be highlighted if only this column was allocated a bigger space.

But then again, I remain challenging myself to what I deem a complex question. Can we have a female Head of State through democratic elections come 2017? I will, in fact, attempt to look at some typical issues, which are not necessarily looked at through a macro pair of lens. It's rather little things that essentially go a long way.

Kindly take time to think about it. When it comes to selecting a candidate, gender matters more for women than for men. Whilst women are likely to vote for a contestant because she is female, they are also more likely to dismiss her for that same reason.

There could be a million reasons and suggestions to why women aren't voting for women. Some suggestions have indicated that women voters shoot themselves in the foot because they naturally want "a daddy figure". Others place resistance against feminism at a highpoint, and also point to a sense that most women subscribe to the paternalistic belief that they are not as good as men.

I might not produce a documented evidence of my observation in regard to how women behave, but I have had a chance to interact with them at workplaces as well as in business and social circles - some have been my bosses, so to speak.

Women throw in significant effort to judge other women, if I may simply put it. They also unfairly continue to be judged against the standards initiated and maintained by men. And because many of them understand pretty well what it's like to feel judged, they subsequently turn that judgment back on one another.

While working in a number of organisations, you will notice that women are scandalously harsh towards other women - especially in a professional sense.

It is very common though not reported that women bully other women at work. This is habitually reflected in verbal abuse, misuse of authority, destroying of relationships and job sabotage. Don't be surprised if this occupied about 70 per cent of the time at the workplace. If you labour to conduct a research of some sort, you would discover that most women judge their coworkers based on what they wear to office.

Let me close it here with a modest opinion. You don't vote for or dismiss a woman because you are a woman. You vote for a candidate because you think they will be the best (man or woman) for the job; that they will execute their position with integrity for the good of the people, not some lobbyists or wealthy backers. You vote for them because they will be on the side of democracy, not corporate fascism. A Luta Continua!

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