Our political system and most of our political parties have been created by males, so it’s not surprising that our Parliament and our political culture favours men and is still dominated by men.
The recent Labour “man ban” sideshow has raised the issue of gender equity in our politics. I will collate posts on this here, and this post can be accessed from the Your NZ menu.
Parliament needs to be seen as a decent workplace for women (and men).
Personal attacks and abuse and unfounded accusations aim at damaging characters, careers, parties and Government are far too common and prominent. More women (and men) will be attracted to putting themselves if politics was a decent respectful workplace. Robust debate is essential, but it needs to be reasonable and reasoned debate.
There are many reasons the main one being I want to live in peace and quiet out of the public’s eye. Politics, especially in parliament often seems like a kindergarten not a place where mature adults our representatives find the best way to help govern our country.
Women are being doubly judged, once for their looks and secondly for their ability.
I think the barriers to women’s political participation are systemic and are based in the social and cultural pressures that women face everyday, all their lives. We still live in a deeply patriarchal society and as a result it can be very difficult for women to value their own skills and expertise because others don’t.
Parliament is particularly aggressive place and many women quite sensibly decide to engage in politics that is more constructive and less hostile.
Our political system was originally designed by men and is still dominated (numerically at least) by men, so it will be slanted towards male preferences and practices.
Every party will have it’s own preferences and pressures but the Green model of gender equity is an ideal that others would do well to aspire to.