Women in Politics. That is the topic for today. Quiet a sensitive one because if we are to discuss this heartily, we might ruffle the collective feather of women in politics.
We have women in politics who are doing great. We must give accolades to these women. Honour to whom honour is due. These women won elections against all odds. The big question is how much impact have the women in politics brought to politics in Nigeria. If women in politics are to make an impact, then we must start doing things differently.
In our society, we have become used to broken promises. People have lost faith in politicians. It has always been the culture for politicians to make promises and not keep them when they win their elections. An aspirant may promise to build roads and pospitals and create jobs for the community but after the election, the reverse may be the case.
Similarly, when some politicians make these promises, they do so without knowing what is in the treasury. They have little or no knowledge of wealth creation or how to transform tax and revenue into social services and Job creation. In other word, they have no Economic Blue print or political Manifesto.
As Women in Politics, how can we change the narrative?. If I may suggest, I would encourage every woman who has interest in becoming a politician and representing her people to, first and foremost, get an Education, formal or informal. Knowing some Political Science, Macro and Micro Economics, Public Administration, Business Administration, Global trends in Governance. These will go a long way in making the woman in politics an intellectually empowered person. The world has moved away from cosmetic in politics. A woman of beauty and brains is what any woman who wishes to represent her people should have. In fact do not worry about he beauty part. Let us just have the brains.
Why is it important to be educated? Because you cannot give what you do not have. This is the problem we have. Most politicians who make promises and fail are not necessarily bad people. They start making promises without counting the cost. This takes us back to the issue of having a Manifesto and an economic blue print for the realization of the manifesto. For example, if the manifesto says that the woman Politician will build 40 roads and 200 hospital; Do you have the blueprint and strategy for realizing this? How much is in the treasury? How much is the government Allocation that comes in? Can the allocation build the number of roads and hospitals you have promised your people? If this is not enough what economic channels are you hoping to create that will bring revenue to your government coffers? Do you know how to engage International Development Partners and Donor Funds for the development of your community? Do you know how macro-economic conditions affect micro economic conditions and businesses? Do you know how to empower your community through encouraging the creation of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises? These is job creation in action. Most times, when the government create jobs and the enabling environment, most of the youth population is engaged in the creation of value and will have little strength for fermenting crisis. This is where business meets politics. In this day and age, being under-prepared or not prepared at all is not an excuse. If we are to be taken seriously in politic, we must learn to do things with a little more difference than our male counterparts do.
Still on Education, how prepared are you? Do you know the art of persuasive public speaking or are you waiting for your campaign team to do all the work? Do you have a public peaking coach? Are you ready to learn Leadership and managerial Skills? If your answer is no, please, do not attempt it.You need to study women who have made their marks in politics such as Margaret Thatcher, Indira Ghandi,Angela Merkel and a host of others. The era of pancake and LIPSTICK has passed .If party imposes you on the electorate and you impose your ignorance on them, you will be unpleasantly surprised by their reaction.
Being a woman of power in Politics goes beyond just cosmetics and fashion. A woman in Politics must have substance and something to deliver because your electorate are becoming more enfranchised and enlightened.
Coming to the women electorate, we must understand that our vote is our power. If we give our votes to women who follow the bandwagon and leverage every political demand on our gender, then we are in trouble. personally, I am tired of hearing women whine about being under represented in political appointments. A woman can win an election by merit if her financial, political and campaign Strategies are on Point.
Furthermore, we, the women, need to create a culture of accountability and demand the same of those who represent us. We have many women associations. It is at this level that we must begin to recognize the leaders and achievers amongst us, the negotiators, the Amazons, and the Humanitarians
When women win elections, they represent men women and children. So, if these women who have been elected are aware of the fact that they are being held accountable for how they represent the community, they will ‘take dressing’. If we form this culture, the men folks will also learn some rare lessons from us.
Let us look at the following quotes from Lady Margeret Thatcher from of Britain:
‘if you want something said, ask a man, if you want something done ask a woman’’
‘Disciplining yourself to do what you know is right and important, although difficult, is the highroad to pride, self-esteem, and personal satisfaction’.
In conclusion, the woman who want to go into Politics should identify a role model and understudy the person. A good political mentor, and educated one, is a big plus. So, while you plan to go into politics as a woman, you must build yourself because the era of cosmetic politics is over.