All around the world, women are now conducting more decision making that effect their lives. Women were constantly denied their basic human right to decide for themselves. This right is important to the idea of equality in decision-making among women and men. Women know our own situations best; women around the world should openly and freely be able to equally take part with men in these processes and to have our perspective effectively heard at all levels of decision-making. Women everywhere have made monumental strides towards directing their own choices. We will see how women respond to politics and power, as well as a policy that has been put in place by many States to ensure women’s equally throughout the UN.
Many women, especially in developing countries, when asked if they would consider becoming a candidate for a position in office or work in a decision-making position in government, most of the women answered that they would not want to have this power. Their reasons are that most of those in politics are considered “dirty”. Women use the word dirty in the sense that their methods used to gain political power, seem to be unethical and most times illegal, just to win in elections and assume power. Also, how public officials corrupt public services for personal and group interests has been the accepted norm. Intimidation and the feeling of being threatened, are reasons why women tend to stray away from the “dirty” sides of politics which typically then are pressured into joining in mainstream politics.
For women to have the abilities to make a difference in their area, their intentions may also have factors that propelled them to take public office. The situation of women in positions of power, can define whether they will be thought of as less than in politics or become respected participants in their organization and also in the decision-making positions in public office that they assume. An example of this would be, is this woman of power only in this position due to luck of being born into the political cage? Did they willingly (or not) marry a man of power? Or did they roll up their sleeves in political work and climbed through the ranks of politics to become effective and respected party leaders? Women who develop their skills in politics and prove their commitment in public service are likely to have the greater ability to make a lasting difference when given the opportunity to participate in decision-making positions in public office.
Women who make it to the highest political position in their country, such as, head of State, President, Prime Minister, Chancellor etc., their political influence and support from their party, as well as their capabilities, would determine their ability to make a difference. High political leadership could give a woman a lot potential to make a difference. However, if a woman gets intimidated by the position and /or other powerful male politicians, this shows as lacking confidence from other men from her family and her party.
For other public offices, there is evidence in most countries that women tend to be given opportunities in areas of decision-making that compare to their traditional gender roles as mothers and caregivers in the family. Women are usually given roles in specific groups, primarily for social concerns of family and disadvantaged groups, and culture. You would never find them leading committees for any major concerns like the budget, local government, any sort of foreign affairs, justice or defense, hence giving women only a limited sphere of influence in the over-all well-being of a nation. This is also repeated in the executive branch, where cabinet positions for the social sectors might be given to women but not for the other sectors. There is also a parallel tendency in the judiciary where women justices may be appointed to head the court for family and children but less likely to head or become members of the Supreme Court. One therefore sees similar patterns of marginalization and subordination that characterize women’s common experiences in patriarchy in most other power structures such as the family, business enterprises, political parties, religious organizations, labor unions and media establishments.
The repetition of sexism in politics is often combed over by men which can be due to the lack of women who acquire the qualifications for the more important and powerful positions. Although, we do find that less qualified men are being elected and/or appointed to these positions that are not usually given to women. Therefore, men in politics will tend to emphasize women’s natural abilities and skills (such as caregivers or cleaning) in domestic-related work as if politicians(men) cannot learn these “abilities and skills” and women cannot learn new skills aside from those stereotyped with the feminine gender.
In the year 1979, the UN General Assembly had adopted the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women(CEDAW). When a State agrees to execute this Convention, they fully commit to undertake all measures in which to end the discrimination of women in the following ways which I am referencing from UN Women; “to incorporate the principle of equality of men and women in their legal system, abolish all discriminatory laws and adopt appropriate ones prohibiting discrimination against women; to establish tribunals and other public institutions to ensure the effective protection of women against discrimination; and to ensure elimination of all acts of discrimination against women by persons, organizations or enterprises” (UN Women).
The Convention gives a base point for understanding and following through with equality between women and men. Through this it can ensure that women will receive equal access and equal opportunities in political and public life. These rights may include the right to vote, run for an election, get proper health care and education as well. The parties involved in The Convention have agreed to exhibit all appropriate measures so that women can now enjoy their basic human rights and freedoms. Countries that endorse the Convention are legally obligated to put its provisions into practice. One of their responsibilities after adopting this policy is that they are also asked to file national reports, at least every four years, on what actions they have taken to adhere to their responsibilities.