A meeting on women in business and politics, 2009.
Speaker of Parliament and brother of the Prez Chamal Rajapakse recently said working with women is difficult. Previously the male Women And Children’s Affairs Minister said men should always be chairs within that organization and women subordinates. Both are supremely wrong. I personally think the country would be run way better if it was run by more women, or even all women.
The main argument for male dominance is that you need strength to rule. But that’s circular logic. You’re saying that you need men to fight off other men. It’s like the mafia saying you need to pay for protection from ‘people like me’. The whole point is that a society becomes more advanced (or wants to become so) rule should be less about strength in a violent/defensive sense and more about a strong society.
Our male politicians are implicated in rape, murder and somewhat across the board drunkenness and debauchery. Out of social pressure perhaps less than choice, women are simply not as rapey or violent as men. If we had more female politicians there would be less Pradeshiya Sabha Chairmen thinking that they can rape and kill foreigners (a la Tangalle) and less shoot-outs between politicians in the street (a la Duminda Silva).
This is not to say that women can’t be violent or rapey, they’re just not. Partly I guess because of testosterone but also because societal pressure makes that behavior unacceptable for women. There is no female Tony Soprano. That sort of violent but powerful anti-hero isn’t compelling as a female, whereas that sort of anti-social personality is actually the template for more uncivilized leadership throughout history.
Honestly, I think there should be a quota for women in office, and it should be damn close to 50%. As I think Sonia Gandhi said, people say that you can’t find women to fill the quotas until you impose the quotas. And to get back to Speaker Rajapaksa’s complaint:
“This is not something I am saying. When women take the lead there is a tendency to not listen to anyone else. It is like this in a lot of places. It becomes difficult to work. If a woman is in charge of a District Secretariat or Divisional Secretariat or any other high office, they have a tendency to exert their authority over that place. So because of that, sometimes justice is not done,” (Colombo Telegraph)
If women assert power, so be it. That’s called politics. That’s what politicians should be doing, talking and – yes – scheming and plotting. The Speaker here seems to be saying that they don’t play along with the boys club, which is a good thing. That’s better than colluding to share the spoils of violence, rape and a mafia government while marginalizing the 50% of the population which earns, maintains homes, social connections and has just as much a right to political power, if not more, than men.