Women in Politics

That was one of the proudest moments in
our recent history. During her tenure as President, Kosovo has addressed some of
the very sensitive issues that were not addressed before. Specifically,
women’s rights and more specifically the rights of the women that were sexually
abused and raped during the war in Kosovo She became the voice to those who
had none. She helped young girls in Kosovo to dream high, dream big, sky is
the limit if you work hard, if you’re committed and if you put your heart in
it. They were two terrific presidents not just great women presidents but great
presidents. In the case of Mary Robinson who was our first woman president, she
talked about how the women of Ireland were no longer her phrase was I think no
longer “content to rock the cradle they now wanted to rock the system” Mary McAleese very much followed in that mode as well both them very very consciously
affirming the role of women and the agenda of women’s empowerment. But I wouldn’t want to pretend that it’s a magic wand that solves all the problems.
I would have hoped that in the aftermath of Mary Robinson’s presidency for
example that you might have seen an immediate upsurge in the number of women
in our Parliament that didn’t happen to any dramatic extent Rwanda is known for we have 65% of women in parliament obviously this didn’t just come
overnight, it was intentional to empower women. What kind of importance does it
have? Big. The discourse has changed in the government there is a new narrative
because women are participants and obviously issues that are particular to
women are more talked about and they’ve been improved so we are talking about
anything from health issues to family violence to inheritance to land
attribution. All these things they have come because of those women are pushing
those issues in parliament. We have a constitutional quota for
women’s participation in the parliament thirty percent, at least thirty percent
of members of the Parliament have to be women. That’s mandatory. I remember in the
first elections in the parliament, very few women made it without the quota. But now every election cycle more and more women are there, not because of the quota but because of the votes they they get Because quota gives women a
platform to be represented and it gives an opportunity for the voters and
citizens to see who these women are. Quota system that was put there so the
women can come on on a level playing field. Eventually women surpassed it, so
initially they were 30% parliament then eventually 48% when they were elected a few years later, then 52 and then 64. And as they perform people look
at them and say we are going to select them because they are performing
not because they are women. So we start with the intention and we got to that
point where women now are predominant in government There’s so many decisions that are taken
a political level practically every decision is going to affect and
condition women’s lives. You need to be there at the table, you need to have a
voice at the table and you need critical mass. It’s not enough to have twenty
percent, thirty percent is regarded as critical mass but obviously the
objective is to have fifty percent. But these decisions affect our lives in the
most fundamental way. We are fifty percent of the population we should have
that number of seats at the table


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