Women in politics: Gender equality alone doesn’t solve the system’s ills

Is the mere presence of women in politics automatically a victory for gender equality, or it a form of ‘gender-washing’ which covers over the more pressing need for feminine qualities to be encouraged in the political sphere?

The case for equality in politics remains a necessary one, but focusing merely on gender doesn’t address the core problems of the current system’s ills.

Installing females into positions of power is often heralded as a ‘win’ in this struggle, but what we see is often a form of ‘gender-washing’ where the balance of women and men becomes more equal yet the prevailing attitudes of said appointees rarely vary.

Was Margaret Thatcher or Angela Merkel any more ‘feminine’ than their male counterparts? DiEM25’s Ivana Nenadovic, speaking during our recent ‘Not Just Another International Women’s Day’ discussion, feels that more needs to be done to combat the absence of feminine energy, not just females, in politics if real structural change is to be seen.

“DiEM should show how politics, which is normally restricted reserved for men, could also be an inviting environment for women as well, and I guess that this panel also proves that,” Ivana said.

“I’d say that it’s a matter of energy – feminine and masculine. Both need to exist, it’s just a matter of balance.

“Something I try to emphasise is that empathy and emotions, which are all usually connected with women are, in politics, not welcome. Because politics are supposed to be this strict, professional and emotionless business so when we see women in politics we see them being basically worse than men.”

The appointment of female politicians is rightly celebrated for the progress that it signifies, although Ivana stressed that the bigger goal in this regard should be breaking down the current power structure.

“The point is not to take the power out of the hands of men and put it in the hands of women, it’s about deconstructing this power.”

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