As in the case in the UK, women in politics are underrepresented across the globe. A basic problem facing the universal process of democratization is the constant lack of gender parity in political leadership. Today, women correspond to only one in seven parliamentarians, one in ten cabinet ministers, and, at the top of power, one in 20 heads of government or state. Despite moves towards gender equality in many spheres, barriers to the entry of women into elected office persist.(1) Women around the globe, at every socio-political stage find themselves under characterized or represented in parliament and far detached from decision making levels. The factors that facilitate or hamper women's political contribution vary with level of socio-economic development, culture, geography, and the type of political system. Women themselves are not a harmonized group; there are chief dissimilarities between them, based on race, class, cultural background, ethnicity and education. The elimination of women from decision making bodies confines the possibilities for establishing the principles of egalitarianism in a society, hindering economic growth and discouraging the achievement of gender equality. If men dominate the political course, passing laws which have an effect on the society at large, the decision-making procedure does not always balance the welfare of the female and male populations. As noted in the Millennium Development Goals, women's equal participation with men in power and decision making is part of their fundamental right to participate in political life, and at the core of gender equality and women's empowerment.(2) Women who desire to enter politics find that the public, cultural, political and social environment is often unsociable or even hostile to them. Even a speedy glance at the present composition of political choice makers in any region provides proof that women still face abundant obstacles in shaping and articulating their own interests.
Among the political impediments that women face, the following feature significantly: The dominance of the masculine form of political life and of voted government bodies; Lack of party prop up, for example, limited monetary support for women candidates, inadequate access to political networks, and the more severe standards and qualifications applied to women; Lack of constant contact and collaboration with other public associations such as women's groups and labour unions; Lack of access to well developed edification and training schemes for women's leadership in general, and for familiarizing young women towards political life; The nature of the electoral structure, which may or may not be positive to women candidates.(3) The psychosomatic and ideological impediments for women in entering legislative body include the following: Gender ideology, prearranged social roles dispensed to women and men, and cultural patterns; Women's lack of self-assurance to stand for election; Women's discernment of politics as a dirty game, and; the means in which women are depicted in the mass media.
To overcome these obstacles, there should be the introduction of institutional, political, and financial guarantees that promote women's candidacies to guarantee the equal involvement of female contenders in electoral campaigns. There should also be the designation of legislative set of laws for implementing efficient quota mechanisms. There should be the creation of instructive programmes and centres anticipated to prepare women for political occupations. Also needed is the advancement of and support for centres (or schools) for the preparation of women for involvement in electoral campaigns.(4) Other forms of dealing with these barriers include the following; supporting women to carry out management roles that challenge disparities of power and wealth and identify and encourage women's rights. Increasing the number of women in places of power has had a straight, useful impact on the interests of women living in poverty at the local level. Alliances should be built between the congresswomen who are keen to encourage women's rights and gender impartiality, and women's rights groups. Encouraging and sustaining women to take up leadership roles and participate in decision building on equal balance with men. Offering targeted preparation to women who want to presume positions of leadership is one way of facilitating more women to sway decision crafting processes. Beyond budding women's capabilities to lead, there is a need to change models of leadership progress so that they become more gender receptive, and include matters such as inclusive dialogue and participatory governance.(5)
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Another important step is to make women's contribution in the economic sector visible. This will make the general public know what they are capable of doing. Dealing with restrictions on women's time and mobility is another form of solution. In order to make sure that women's weighty responsibilities do not make political involvement impossible, feelings need to change, and household work needs to be more evenly divided amongst all family members, men included. Attitudes to women's participation and leadership roles should be changed. Any work in this arena should include actions that challenge women's own discernments about their appropriateness for leadership. Also vital is discovering male 'champions' in positions of power, who will be ready to speak out in support of women's right to political involvement and leadership.(6)
In conclusion, plans aimed at intensifying women's participation and leadership will have inadequate impact unless the configurations that uphold gender disparity and other forms of unfairness begin to change. This involves getting men on board at all levels to confront: unreliable governance and electoral structures that are not answerable to voters; organisational compositions that strengthen male control and authority; and the financial unfairness that women face.(7)
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