More women must get involved in politics and public life
Stabroek News – December 1, 2005
Your headlines on page 4 of Stabroek News of Wednesday 23rd and Thursday 24th November, 2005 entitled “Angela Merkel is Germany’s first female chancellor” and ‘Iron Lady’ is Africa’s 1st elected woman president” respectively have made me and I suspect my female colleague politicians from all sides of the divide very proud. More than just being elected to the highest political office in their respective countries, both Chancellor Merkel and President Johnson-Sirleaf have committed to usher in new political cultures in their countries with President Johnson-Sirleaf saying “we will create and formulate an inclusive government”. These promises by the two leaders has caused me to reflect on whether the female politicians in Guyana, myself included, have been doing what we can to change the prevailing divisive politics in Guyana that so much of our citizens are “fed up” with, thereby helping to usher in a new political culture in Guyana.
I have had the privilege of attended meetings in Antigua and St. Vincent in recent months where the concept of a Caribbean Institute for Women in Politics is being developed. What is very clear from these meetings is that in several Caricom countries most women are of the view that politics in their respective countries is in essence too confrontational and counter-productive. At the meetings we all reaffirmed that we needed to do more to get women interested and involved in politics and public life. We also reaffirmed that this push to increase women’s involvement in politics and public life is not and cannot in itself be the goal, the goal must be to have more women in politics and public life in Caricom so that the women so placed can act as agents for change. A change for the better.
I close by issuing an invitation to women throughout the length and breadth of Guyana to get involved in politics and public life so that together with our men folk we can quicken the transformation of our political landscape.
Deborah Osman Backer