When Women Run For Political Office
Women should be just as likely as men to be elected. They are underrepresented because they don’t run in the first place.
We have women in government that were not elected; they were not appointed (like we are expected to believe) These women were summoned ! They were Summoned by their party , not the Country.
They are fulfilling their party’s agenda; and when they fail to do so… they are dismissed. No questions asked!
The pipeline isn’t filling up ; there is NO 30% representation. The number of women serving in office is shameful, and it will remain that way until women realize that they have a LOT to offer our country, that they can win an election !
Recent data shows the gender gap is just as glaring for the next generation of women leaders.
Political researchers come up with a LOT of very convincing reasons why women don’t run for office:
- Women are less likely to be encouraged by parents, teachers or party leaders
- Women earn less than men
- Women have children to take care of
- Women underestimate their abilities and assume they need to be more qualified than men to run for the same office.
I’m here to tell you that women ARE as likely as men to win, voters in Belize decide based on a candidate’s party, NOT Gender! That doesn’t mean there isn’t a gender penalty: It is difficult to quantify whether gender costs women votes, because women tend to wait until they are more qualified than men to run for the same office. This wait and struggle to be better than men, costs women the opportunity to get on the ballot.
Men are more likely to be recruited to run for any of our major political parties.
When women are recruited, the party often believe they aren’t as qualified. Recruiting women is usually for show… Oftentimes their campaigns are sabotaged, they are lied to, their characters assassinated, they are expelled and even fired from their jobs after elections. And NO ONE, not the women leaders, the financiers of women programs, not the Party leaders, not even the Media, is interested to know the truth.
Women say they Need More
Qualified potential women often say that they just don’t feel they’re quite ready, they need more experience, more time, more money, more confidence”
And they do! Because once you enter the doors of “Party” Politics, you need more money than they know you have, more time than your male opponent, be more saintly that Mother Teresa …You better leave your self-esteem hidden at home … so you have something to pick up, after your party is through with you!
society rewards men for ambition, for having various sexual partners and for being conniving…but not women; and women are socialized to be hesitant about promoting themselves.
Women are collaborative in nature, so we must not upset our leaders…we must ALWAYS COLLABORATE !
In Party Politics, Women need to prove a few things:
- they’re competent
- they’re likable (men don’t have to prove that they’re likable)
- they are collaborative
- they are obedient
- they are not as smart as the men and they need to be willing to accept this!
Spokespersons on the Women in Leadership struggle , say several things work to nudge more women into the pipeline, of political life; encouragement from parents, teachers and political leaders, more training in politics, knowledge of what to do, resources, support of friends….
Many People have lots to say and they speak with such confidence, as if they have experienced it themselves….THEY HAVE NOT!
And I’m worried that it’s creating a lot of myths that don’t not actually apply to Belizean politics.
Women assume there is in fact this bias and you get undermined and encounter sexism at every corner, the reality is , that’s just not true! Not from the Voters that stay home, not from the churches that preach politics to be un-Christian, not from the educated public that think they are too smart to vote.
These people support women… they would love to see women in power…they just don’t care enough to GO VOTE!
The Bias does exist, it exists inside the political parties and inside the heads and pockets of the voters that allow themselves to be manipulated by the “boys club”
Can Women win elections? YES WE CAN!
The balance however,will not tip,the dial will not move nor elections won merely by potential power.
Women are fighting a courageous fight against Patriarchal leadership and we are failing , not because this fight can not be won but because It’s the wrong fight!
Winning an Election complicated only because people who are in office want it that way!They discourage us from running by erecting barriers.
They have made it harder to get on the ballot,to raise money and created road blocks to keep women out.
This column is about empowering women by breaking those barriers.
More women must be involved in our political process, because Belize needs more competition in the market place of ideas and solutions.
We need NO MORE EXCUSES!