Why the low participation rate of women in governance and the democratic process in the 21st century?
Defined as: “the art of leading a city’’ politics is always viewed as a man’s affair. Nowadays, despite the evolution of our society, the efforts made by some of our leaders through signatures followed by ratifications of international and national legal instruments (National Gender Policy, the Quota Law) the field of politics continues to be a ” seat tailored for the male gender.”
Indeed, our society is composed of men, women and children. The inequalities of opportunity between men and women in our society remain visible because women are underrepresented in decision-making bodies, and their low rate of participation in politics stands out in our societies.
Article 29 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights states that “States Parties recognize the vital role of women in promoting and strengthening Democracy”. Let us recognize that the real citizen is one who participates in the management of the public affairs of his/her community and the election of his/her rulers.
The underrepresentation of women in decision-making institutions and bodies is becoming difficult to reform because they are still not associated with thinking and shaping policies. Inequalities persist, and the battle on equity and parity is still not won.
We can achieve gender equality in the management of the nation’s affairs when initiatives and public policies take into account the needs of women in the same way as men. Women are the most discriminated against in the employment sector. There need to be adequate measures to strengthen equality between women and men.
The equal participation and representation of women and men in decision-making processes are essential and very important to prioritize women’s needs in government agendas and roadmaps and similarly, for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
‘’Woman is the engine of all development; hence her involvement in politics and the decision-making process is essential for successful democratic consolidation’’.BOKOSSA Eude Kaltani
The challenges that hinder the participation and political representation of women often stem from the educational level, economic power, stereotypes, Social, cultural and religious norms ”which assign unequal roles to men and women”, commitment of women, the lack of appropriation by women of the public space. But also the lack of training in female leadership. It does not imply that there are no competent women who can occupy positions of responsibility.
We can overcome some of these challenges if the leaders of political parties play a role in supporting female activists. This political party should serve as a means to contribute to effective equality between men and women in all areas of our society.
Their roles should not only be limited to the organization of the General Assemblies of the party but also ensure the training of their activists in the management of public affairs, appoint the women in their political party to the position of responsibility within the party they lead and instil in them the desire to stand as a candidate for elective positions. Women should no longer be passive citizens, but they should play their roles in rooting and consolidating the democratic process in their country.
To change the narrative, it takes a relentless commitment on the part of men sensitive to the question of gender as well as women by breaking the glass ceiling that prevents the full participation of women. It is time that women can trust each other, support each other in political participation and decision-making processes so that they are no longer instruments for the pay of political parties as the electoral deadlines approach.
In the 21st Century, we must consider gender equality and equity as the first ethical and political conditions which must lead to the social and economic progress of a Nation, in short, lead to inclusive and sustainable development. In this way, we can reach Goal 5 of the SDGs “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”. And the Aspiration 6 of the Africa Union Agenda 2063 ‘’An Africa, whose development is people-driven, relying on the potential of African people, especially its women and youth, and caring for children’’.
A special mention to the African states which are among the 20 in the world with most women in parliament. Rwanda, Namibia, South Africa, Senegal, Mozambique and Ethiopia.