The world could be a very different place if more women were in charge. We would have the equality necessary to make our society better for everyone. The challenge now is to make a future in which every girl has the chance to take up positions of political leadership. It’s a big challenge but things are improving, though progress is slow. The proportion of women in parliaments globally has more than doubled since 1995, but still stood at only 23% in 2016; with only three countries achieving gender equality in their national parliaments.
Last year saw examples of women entering high office – while Hillary Clinton narrowly missed out, Theresa May became the United Kingdom’s second female prime minister, and Estonia, Taiwan and the Marshall Islands all elected their first female presidents. Most excitingly for us, the recent election has seen a female elected to be the Prime Minister of New Zealand; Jacinda Ardern. Yet these advances are from a low base. Having a woman at the helm of our country does not mean we have achieved gender equality. That would be like looking at America and stating that racism does not exist there anymore because they had a Black President.
Unfortunately, leaders are often treated more harshly in the media based on their looks; taken less seriously by their peers; and women in politics and in business must still navigate systems that were designed and maintained by men for centuries. Is it any wonder so few young women and girls consider putting themselves forward for leadership positions or elected office?
This matters. If we are serious about achieving the development goals we’ve set ourselves, we need to be serious about empowering women, and especially girls, to learn, lead, decide and thrive. Developing the leadership capacity of girls in particular not only helps them to secure better livelihoods and better health today, but can also create a generation capable of delivering future change. Women’s political participation is a crucial accelerator of progress. We need progress, but we need the people who make the change to be a representation of the nation. Doesn’t it then follow that it would be a somewhat 50/50 split between men and women in leadership, as we the society are a 50/50 split ourselves?
We should not lose sight of the fact that girls have equal rights as boys to lead. We need to continue to support them to speak up for themselves, to make decisions about their own lives and take the positions of power to which they are entitled. Perhaps we also need to continue to encourage men, fathers as well as leaders, to make space into which the world’s which daughters can grow.
In 2017, and the fast-approaching 2018, we need to mobilize even more young women and girls, ensuring their voices are heard like never before. In doing so we will be able to inspire more support and investment in their right to lead and create a better world for all.
Critical Thinking Challenges:
1. Why should there be more female leaders?
2. Why do you think there are more male leaders than fair leaders? Do you think it’s fair?
3. How could women being in more leadership positions affect the country/the world?
1. Ask your parents if they think this is a problem? Why/why not?
2. Find research that explains where this gap inequality comes from? Is this normal or does it happen for a reason? Are there countries where this is not happening?
3. Do you agree that this is NOT a fair thing to be happening? Leave an answer in the COMMENTS BELOW.