We need more women leaders in politics

I was impressed when I read the results of a recent poll showing that quite a number of Kenyans would vote in a woman president. This comes as good news especially after marking International Women’s day three days ago. Over the years, we have continued to empower women in the society and I believe that it’s time they came out and demanded for a place among the key decision makers in society.

The idea of leadership and power in many parts of the world is still considered masculine and while women have begun to realise the promise of civil rights, the signs of success in gaining leadership positions are still faint.

I admire women in general and particularly the modern woman who is able to balance her social and professional duties at the same time. I’m sure you are wondering… why give them added responsibilities if they already have a lot to handle?

Now, the fact that women have proven that they can handle several duties at the same time goes to show that giving them an added responsibility will not make them any less effective. In fact, if anything it will challenge them to make sure they balance it all.

Women are home managers and administrators for that matter and that’s how our country needs to be run and cared for, just like a home. I believe that they will be able to provide reasoned dialogue on issues transcending gender, health, education and poverty which are the social spheres that contribute towards the development of a society. Thus, we need to create an influx of this balanced leadership if at all we want a better Kenya.

Many leaders have come and gone and we have been fond of telling them to walk the talk but fail in actualizing this phrase. However, I’m thankful for the new constitution which gives power to the people and which places the leader in the citizen’s hands. The leadership journey is not an easy one, and people want to see leaders who will walk the talk. The most effective leaders have the best “talk”; a great vision, values, wonderful approaches and plans, and people see talk as more than just words – they see the walk. In fact your talk matters little, in comparison to your walk. The reality is, they watch and pay much more attention to your feet, than your lips.

It is unfortunate that our leaders, majority of them being male, have failed in this and I will not be surprised if come next year many of them are sent packing. Kenyans have become wiser and the days of bribing and rigging during elections are long gone. Women have more opportunities now more than ever, and they need to rise to the challenge to stay on top.

Most past and present woman leaders exhibit bold leadership, present fresh ideas, walk the talk and have an “outsider” perspective on politics.This is because for a long time women were not politically involved and were excluded from the decision-making process and being on the receiving end has indeed taught them a lot. Even so, I do hope that those with strong political ideals, seen to generate reforms in the society, will gang the support of the masses and lead this country next year.

If at all in Afghanistan, one of the more chaotic states in the world, the strength of female leadership has broken through cultural and historical barriers to yield a quarter of the parliamentary seats to women, then we can do even better than what our constitution stipulates for. And if Afghanistan is too far, then look at Rwanda. Women hold up half of the parliament and I must say that this has indeed contributed to the tremendous development that this country has experienced.

In conclusion, elections should progress beyond the definition of what a person is, but what they will do as leaders and stewards of good government, as examples of responsible governance to future generations. As I once said, gender parity within a country will speak volumes about the character of the people, whose masculinity is not threatened by powerful women, and whose women remain humble in spite of being powerful.

Let’s give our women a chance to prove that they can actually be stewards of good governance and steer this country towards achieving our Vision 2030. Let’s support the 2012 women leaders who have a vision to reform this society!

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