Fri | Sep 22, 2017

Expectations limited for female politicians

Published:Monday | March 7, 2016 | 3:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin
Attorney-at-law Bert Samuels looks on as Professor Rosalea Hamilton addresses a Gleaner Editors' Forum held last Thursday at the company's North Street, Kingston, offices.
Dr Paul Ashley... I look forward to the day when we have two leaders at the helm who are women.
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Even with more women making themselves available for representational politics, analysts have declared that they expect nothing extraordinary from female politicians, unless they are willing to assert themselves on critical issues affecting Jamaica's development.

Professor Rosalea Hamilton, vice-president of development at the University of Technology, Jamaica, told journalists during a Gleaner Editors' Forum last week that women who find themselves in politics have to be willing to stand out and make their voices heard.

"The question about women in representational politics is whether they will just follow and fall in line, or whether they will be brave enough to stand and deliver on critical issues, especially as it relates to women, even if it means that their party colleagues might not agree," Hamilton said during the forum, held at The Gleaner's North Street, Kingston, offices last Thursday.

In assessing the People's National Party's (PNP) defeat in the recent general election, she advised that politicians have to go back to their core values in making people the priority.

"The PNP, in particular, a core principle in the reorganisation of the party has to be looking at that important campaign message - 'power to the people'. What does that mean?" she said.

 

ENCOURAGING SIGNS

 

Attorney-at-law Bert Samuels said he believed that there have been encouraging signs in the public's image of women taking up leadership roles, particularly in politics.

"There is definitely a greater acceptance of leadership from women, and the fact that they are elected indicates that people are much more open," Samuels said.

"We will have to wait and see who, and the number, Mr Holness (Andrew) will allow in the Cabinet."

Political commentator Dr Paul Ashley, however, noted that the discussion should go beyond female politicians giving priority to women's issues.

"I don't think the discussion should be about women giving priority to women's issues, but being capable to deal with all issues," Ashley said.

"I see women run their families, run political organisations at administrative levels. They are now more elevated. In fact, I look forward to the day when we have two leaders at the helm who are women," he said.

jodi-ann.gilpin@gleanerjm.com