#By_elections in Kenya: only ONE woman won(civic seat). #electwomen

I’ve said this ad infinitum: it’s not that women don’t vie for elective positions,rather, we rarely vote for them. Most voters, women included believe that leader (especially in politics) means man.

If we can’t elect women in civic and parliamentary elections, are we likely to elect a woman as president in kenya? This a story for another day…    

It leaves me disgusted the arguments by very educated women that the reason we don’t have many women in politics is that they don’t run for office.

In America, the argument that women don’t run for presidential office may sound like a good excuse given that the two main presidential candidates are men (Obama and Romney). However, when one recalls that Hillary Clinton ran for office in 2008 and lost to Obama, and Michelle Bachmann lost against Mitt Romney recently, the argument start to look like a sieve: doesn’t hold water. It was actually disheartening to hear very influential church leaders who are GOP members saying that women cannot be POTUS. I’d be inclined to advice women to leave GOP and head for the Dem, but in light of Hillary Clinton’s defeat, Dems can’t exactly hold a light to GOP… 

In countries where there exists full suffrage rights for women,    women do run for elective offices. However, most of them lose during party nominations, while the rest lose during elections.

The fact that women lose during elections is not exactly due to their qualifications as capable leaders, or lack thereof: Wangari Maathai, the first Kenyan Nobel laureate, lost her presidential bid as well as reelection as an MP.

I’ll state (again!) that we don’t have a shortage of qualified women leaders, but we suffer a severe shortage of people who believe women are as good leaders as men and, therefore, very few of us vote for them.

Many women empowerment  organizations think that the problem of few women in politics is due to lack of leadership skills in women, and, therefore, pour money at leadership conferences for women leaders. This will not make women more electable: You cannot teach anyone (man or woman) to be a politician!
All these resources should be spent in civic education, advising voters on the fact that women are as good leaders as men, and encouraging them  vote for women.

Why elect women? My main reason for pushing for more women in politics is basically to break the vicious cycle of women marginalization.

For starters, Leadership is a subjective perceptual concept. It mostly denotes ability or capacity.

Secondly,political leadership is the most overt form of leadership given humanity’s, and especially media’s fixation with it.

When we overwhelmingly vote for men, Our young daughters grow up believing only boys will grow up to be leaders,and by association they consider  boys the leaders. Given that to be a leader implies capacity or ability, most of our daughters don’t struggle as much as the boys when faced with “difficult” subjects in school such as sciences and maths. Given that our daughters are also socialized to grow up to be wives,which doesn’t require much education anyway, doesn’t help matters much. Very capable girls, therefore,  fall off the education ladder at various points, joining the growing ranks of dis-empowered  women. By the time they realize how capable they are, most of them will be women with children of their own, most probably in bad marriages they can’t extricate themselves from as they dont have the papers to qualify them to search for jobs to take care of their children.
Others will be single parents who struggling against major odds to put food on their families table. All because as children  the society told them they are not leaders ie they are “incapable”. Daughters from such struggling families end up performing poorly in school and the cycle continues

Incidentally, daughters having educated mothers do well in school themselves, and this has absolutely nothing to do with genetics! It has everything to do with mothers as role models. As Caroline mutoko of kiss FM puts it, “you can’t be what you can’t see”.                

I posit here that most of our daughters fail not because they are biologically incapable, but because “difficult” things are left for the boys who are leaders anyway. Girls give up too easily. I have taught in both primary and secondary schools so, I’m talking from experience.

Elect women and let us give our young daughters more women-leader role models.                                       

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2 Responses to “#By_elections in Kenya: only ONE woman won(civic seat). #electwomen”

  1. kimemiamaina Says:

    Wasn’t TNA’s winning candidate in Eldoret’s market ward a woman? Isn’t Hillary Clinton one of the most powerful people in Obama’s cabinet? Didn’t KANU, that old Dinosaur field a woman candidate in Ndhiwa Constituency?

    • Njuguna Ngugi Says:

      Thanx for the info about the fact that the TNA’s civic candidate who won the market Ward in R.Valley is a woman.

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