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International Women’s Day 2011

March 8, 2011

International Women’s Day comes and goes and very little changes but it is always at the back of my mind. It was brought to the front a couple of years ago oddly when I was applying for a visa to go to Azerbaijan. I was applying in February for a trip in March. (PS: This is by far the friendliest Embassy to date). The man at the desk asked me if I could change my dates so that I could arrive early and ‘see the international Women’s Day street celebrations’ that are on every year there. Sadly I couldn’t  but that really alerted me to issues that I really should dedicate a lot of thought to.

Much remains to be done. In the UK one in every four MPs is a woman. In the Nordic countries this is twice as high and still much need to be done. But it has taken over a  century to break the male strong hold.

A workmate once commented that ‘ It was easier for a black and or gay man to be elected as president in the United States than a  woman/lesbian’

Quotas apply in some African and Latin American countries. Many argue that it doesn’t necessarily follow that having more women in the legislature means a better chance of snapping up key cabinet posts. The link between women in parliament and heads of state is ‘limited’.

Denmark abolished quotas in mid 1990s and today women still control 49 percent of the legislative. Rwanda has favored gender equality and decentralization and the mere presence of women has helped the country pass ‘extremely difficult’ laws.

However it must be stressed that getting women in parliament is just half the journey.

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