Women In Government
There is a gender gap in the United States Congress. Out of the 535 members of Congress, only 95 are women. Recently, one more voice of reason departed. Olympia Snowe has resigned with the explanation “tired of the gridlock.” Susan Collins says she is devastated. And is it any wonder? Do you think that this gridlock would continue if half of Congress was made up of women?
Women in parliamentary seats varies greatly around the world. But in those countries where women are well represented, changes happen. A 2008 fact sheet shows that Nordic countries have the largest representation of women’s political participation--41.4%. American women in Congress percentage is only 21.8%. In 2008, out of 134 nations worldwide, the US ranked 68th in the number of women representing their people.
India passed the Panchayat Act which reserves 33% of the three-tiered panchayats for women. Panchayats are the “village council, council of cluster villages and the district council”. Because of India’s elected women’s efforts, corruption is diminishing and transparency has increased.
In 2000, the French government enacted a law that “political parties must present equal numbers of men and women for most elections”. Some of their endeavors include equivalent pay and rights for women in the work place.
If a quota system is instituted to ensure an equal number of women and men who can be elected to office, would more women elect to run? Personally, I cannot imagine being a part of the Congressional community. But there are women with strong voices, with integrity and honesty, and with conviction who could represent us well. I have talked with this type of woman who has the passion to succeed in helping our government make sane and reasonable decisions.
The battle in Congress right now about women’s health care issues is being fought. House representatives held a hearing on women’s access to birth control coverage. There were five men and NO women at that hearing. Where is women’s voice? Who is making choices and decisions for us?
Certainly, there are women whose ideals are not blemish free. Women who succumb to greed like the woman who approved pink slime and then later became a CEO of the company that produces it. And, there are women who are contentious. But that is not the norm.
Voices of reason are needed in our government--women’s voices. Women who have compassion, understanding and strength. Do you see any voice of reason in our present Congress?
In the Bible, Deborah was a judge, Esther saved Israel from destruction. Proverbs 11:16 “A kindhearted woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth.” (NIV)
© Ann Rains March 26, 2012
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