There was a lot of talk this weekend on the twitterverse on the lack of representation of women in the House of Commons. Paul Dewar, who is running in the NDP leadership race, released his policy paper on more equal gender representation in our democratic institutions by having women fill at least half of Cabinet, tying public funding to the number of women candidates political parties attract and making the Status of Women as a full government department.
This segment between Sam and Ainsley on the West Wing sums up a lot of my feelings on this topic:
By having quotas or affirmative action, we’re dealing with symptoms of the problem and not the root cause. And unfortunately, sometimes a turnover of a generation is needed to make large strides in an issue like women’s rights. My sisters and I are incredibly lucky to tread the paths that were blazed by our foremothers, and we do have it better. When we choose to stay at home and be the primary parent, its a choice that we make for our families rather than a default that is expected of us. When we’re in the boardroom, we don’t need to be aggressive for others to take us seriously but would rather be using our natural talent for compromise to get consensus and can be assertive without being called a bitch.
I know a lot of my friends will disagree with the second half of this sentence but for me, being a woman is like being of Indian descent- I was born that way and don’t deserve any different treatment (positive or negative) because of these traits. I would much rather you like me or not based on who I am and judge me based on what I’ve done. As a woman interested in politics, I have seen the way women candidates get treated and the comments made in backrooms, which can fill the spectrum from insipid to insulting. Some of these are by other women. Sometimes it makes me happy that these women don’t think of womanhood as one big exclusive sorority party in which we all have to stand together. By playing the gender card less often, people get judged based on ability and not by the stereotype developed around their gender identity.
Glass ceilings are cracking and women are running countries as well as Fortune 500s. Let’s not chalk this up to being from a woman, but rather because these people have been gifted, insightful and hard-working. Let’s get closer to the day when our daughters and sons will be incredulous that people were judged on anything but the inside…
Note: The reason this post more or less took the whole weekend to write was because I got distracted by family dinners and the Superbowl… Woah, fulfilling both gender steorotypes FTW!