It is possible to state that gender equality is an extremely popular issue in the modern globalized world. Thus, even in the developed countries, women continue facing a discriminating attitude on the basis of their gender. Needless to say, that the global community aims to overcome the issue and develop different ideas, which could help to improve the situation. Some of these solutions require big investments and efforts. Nevertheless, the potential outcomes of the implementation of such solution could not lead to the desired result. The decision to provide gender quotas in order to increase women’s participation in the political life of African countries seems to be a great example of the above-mentioned unpromising decision.
There is no doubt that one of the common aspects of gender discrimination in African countries is the absence of possibilities for women to participate in the political process. It happens due to the existing biases regarding the ability of women to be an equal member of the democratic process. According to Kristin Gross, the views of the local people on gender equality are still extremely discriminative in many African countries (Gross 102-103). The basic cause for such a state of affairs is the small role of the social mechanisms of the civil rights protection in the regular life of a community. Therefore, some specialists highlight the importance of creating democratic quotas to ensure the long-term change based on the compulsory shift of mentality. Unfortunately, this decision is doomed to the existence of the several reasons.
First, women in such African countries as Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo experience the severity of some men. The use of physical force in common life regularly happens in these countries. Unfortunately, the society supports the existence of the negative behavioral patterns, such as violence against women. Consequently, the change of the political system is out of the question because women are not considered as the important members of society.
It becomes clear that it is impossible to change the attitude of people towards the role of women only with the help of the quota’s introduction. It means that the discriminative attitude of people towards women’s thinking and analytical abilities will not change only due to the adoption of laws. Amanda Clayton states that there exists the probability the women will be ignored by their peers: “Even though women elected through these measures may be equally qualified, they risk being perceived as second-class parliamentarians by their colleagues, as less experienced and less capable” (Clayton 382). This assumption is based on the relevant premises. Evidently, women are considered to be incapable of taking strategic decisions in Africa.
Needless to say, that such a negative attitude will undermine the functioning of the political system. The ignorance of women by their peers could lead to the emergence of regular crises in the Ministries and Parliament. For instance, the work of the female Minister could be ignored by the other Ministers or departments. It is obvious such an ignorance of a department is absolutely unacceptable for the political welfare of a country. Furthermore, some decisions could be criticized only due to the fact that they are taken by women. Consequently, it is irrational to provide quotas without the preliminary change of the social situation. Therefore, the primary step in implementing change has to be connected with the change in the mentality of people.
Second, women could get a psychological trauma as a result of the engagement in political activities. It is possible to suggest that women are still not ready for participation in political battles. The fact is that the women’s opinion has been ignored by their communities for centuries. For example, the role of women in Botswana and many other countries is mostly related to the household duties. Accordingly, women have any experience of participation in the political process. At the same time, the participation in the political decision-making could be a complicated activity due to the existence of the globalization trend. Therefore, women need to receive perfect education with the leadership experience. Unfortunately, this opportunity is not provided for all women in African countries. Catherine Boone states that there still exists a serious gender gap in the education opportunities for women from African countries (Boone 74-75). It happens due to the general ignorance by some specialties by women as a result of the social pressure. The discrimination of peers could result in the formation of the hidden stigmas. Thus, many women will receive psychological trauma due to the negative experience of working in political sphere.
Some people state that the provision of quotas could motivate women to engage in political activities. Nevertheless, it is impossible to reshape the entire system of social relations with the help of a single factor. The motivation could not appear due to the negative attitude of the community members towards the choice of a woman. It seems fair to suggest that an individual does not want to become an outcast in his or her social environment. Consequently, many women will avoid the choice of the political specialties in order to follow the general social principles.
Finally, women will not be able to protect their rights without the existence of the social institutions working in the sphere of the female citizen rights. Judith Lober points out the importance of the feminist movement in the constant change of the social attitude towards gender equality (Lober 27-28). Undoubtedly, the feminist movement gives a unique opportunity for women to discuss their rights with the like-minded citizens. At the same time, Judith Squires explains the fact that only the existence of the groups of social activists could lead to the adoption of equitable laws (Squires 124). Thus, the absence of these groups is a crucial reason for the potential failure of the initiative because women will lack support. As a result, they will not have a chance to find understanding and trust.
It is possible to conclude that the provision of quotas for women could not solve the problem of gender inequality in the political life of African countries. The society in Uganda, Botswana, and many other countries is still not ready for such a significant change. Accordingly, the participation of women in the political life of a country could undermine the functioning of the government. Therefore, it is beneficial for the social activists to think about the development of the feministic movement to ensure the long-term improvement of citizen rights in Africa.
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Boone, Catherine. Property and Political Order in Africa. Cambridge University Press. 2014. Print.
Clayton, Amanda. “Present Without Presense? Gender, Quotas, and Debate Recognition in the Ugandan Parliament”. Representation, vol. 50, no. 3, 2014, pp. 379-392.
Goss, Kristin. The Paradox of Gender Equality. University of Michigan Press. 2013. Print.
Lorber, Judith. Gender Inequality: Feminist Theories and Politics. Oxford University Press. 2011. Print.
Squires, Judith. The New Politics of Gender Equality. Palgrave Press. 2007. Print.