I almost expected to hear an outcry “Captain, there is a traitor on board examine the horns” in the meeting hall where I had found myself after being invited to this sizable assembly of very committed and vocal people in a State overseas.
There were only three of my species present. You know the species I mean? The one the Bible claims is the head of the home though some women say that in some homes our species is the head of nothing. Yeah you guessed it- the male species.
You see it was a women’s gathering, with women speakers, women audience, women’s ideas and a distinct intolerance to any man like me who dared to accept a member’s invitation to attend even if I sat way back from the stage. Indeed I felt like a ‘met veye’ among them whenever the speakers got emotional enough to berate and exaggerate the failure of manhood to the ballistic degree.
The main speaker however was a lady who boasted her doctorate three or was it four times in her twenty minute speech. She opened her talk with a rousing call, “The world would be a better place if more politicians were female-do you agree?” Shouts and cheers took over the hall. One ample-bodied female usher who looked like a wrestler locked eyes with me and asked, “Do you agree?” to which I hastily replied,“Oh yes of course”
Here is an excerpt from what the featured speaker said: “Unlike men, women possess special qualities of leadership that help in maintaining fair and corruption free politics. In France it was Joan of Arc, in America Harriet Tubman a slave who became an American icon, in India Indira Gandhi, in the Bible Mary Magdalene, and there is Mother Teresa and others like them who took the lead efforts in governing and bringing unity among the global people for rational development, keeping our paradise earth still green. Hence, women’s involvement in politics should be welcomed universally because the world will be a better place if more politicians are female.”
Historically, in Dominica most women were not interested in political office, they only cared for having a comfortable life, meeting a nice man and getting settled down with a family just like their mom did. They were busy washing, polishing and cleaning homes and struggling to make ends meet. But today women are just not like that anymore. They are leaders in nearly every aspect of our life except one.
Despite that we have had 13 General elections and 9 leaders since adult suffrage, there has been only one female head of our government Eugenia Charles, who, Vic Riviere on a political platform, labelled ‘Mamo’ as an attempt to ridicule the freedomites calling her “Viva Mama” as he argued that she had no children. The name stuck. Indeed she was the first Caribbean female Prime Minister.
The House of Assembly is dominated by male representatives though the female Speaker of the House does her best to balance that equation, by tossing some men out on occasion. There are only two women elected to the House and one of them only made it in a safe party seat and the Senate is even worse. The women who brave it out in politics seem more inclined to ‘just fit in’ than lead. Some say it is because of the scandalous political platforms, naked lies and just the way politicians go at each other and the women cannot take that. Oh Yah? Women have been taking unfair “blows” since Eve was formed from Adam’s rib.
Did ‘Mamo’ make a difference in the lives of we the Kubulians in any meaningful way or is it just the reputation she developed for inflexibility and wielding the staff of correction that we most remember? Was that stiffness as a result of trying too hard to prove she was as good as a man? She presented the same kind of budget with the same unfulfilled promises just like the men do. It is felt that a woman is softer, more approachable, that they are more concerned for the environment and all of those lovely things but to my mind, all politicians behave the same after they get voted in.
However, there does not seem to be another woman political leader anywhere close on the political scene at this time or even in the near future. It may be that the women in the Diaspora who are hiding in plain sight and have gained tons of education and experience would have to come back to balance the equation.
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