Women, Politics, and Modernity
In the modern society, women occupy more leadership positions as compared to the past years, when they were regarded less capable or knowledgeable in leadership. In Latin America, the representation of women in politics is low. The main reason is not their poor performance, but the fact that most of them do not vie for candidacy during the elections, because they are afraid of losing to men who are assumed to be better leaders. During the 1990s, about eleven regions in Latin America adopted a quota law system, which provided a minimal role of women representation as candidates in the national elections. By entering into the public sphere, women in Al-Dahiyya are upholding the modern concepts of gender equality, women empowerment, and separation of religion from politics. Generally, Al-Dahiyya’s is a community dominated by religious elements, beliefs, and concepts encouraged by Islam.
Women have historically been subjected to the dominion of men in the contemporary Muslim societies (Ghanman 93). Women are, for instance, required to wear veils, submit to the masculine authority, and have passive roles in the public sphere. With the separation of religion from the state and governance, women in Al-Dahiyya are seeking to occupy an active slot in the public sphere that enables them to assume leadership positions, acquire formal education, and enjoy equal rights as their male counterparts. Gender equality is one of the principles driving women to the public sphere as the universal ideologies are seeking to empower women to be at par with their male counterparts. The universal code of human rights recognizes ll persons as equals regardless of their gender or religious affiliation (Deeb 76). In response to the western civilizations that have overseen the increased appreciation of women as equal human beings, women in Al-Dahiyya are increasingly seeking shares in the public sphere.
Women’s attempt to occupy public sphere and their effort towards acclaim are steps towards disrupting the pre-existing discursive structure, because the society of Al-Dahiyya is largely shaped by the values and concepts advocated by Islam. Under the pre-existing structure, women were not only expected to remain submissive to their male colleagues in the society but were also perceived to be incomplete for any leadership position or public visibility. Religion placed increased value on the male gender at the expense of the female (Gole 68). Men had solidified their positions and influence in the public sphere through discriminative adherence to religious principles that degraded women. Gender ideologies of the 21st century are, however, providing avenues through which women are increasingly disrupting the pre-existing structures with the aim of replacing them with equality, human rights and dignity, women empowerment, personal rights and freedoms, etc. (Asad 188). The western culture has played a key role in disrupting the pre-existing discursive structures.
Some of the structures disrupted by the women’s effort towards public acclaim include male chauvinism, gender inequality, conservative religious values, political mismanagement, and interpersonal interaction patterns. Male chauvinism, whether promoted by religiion, culture or personal beliefs, is being combated through women empowerment programs. Conservative religious values are being replaced by those that advocate gender equality and political democracy. Moreover, women are increasingly becoming active in social, economic, and political spectrums against the provisions of pre-existing structures. It is clear that western ideologies and civilization are gradually influencing the thinking patterns of Al-Dahiyya society in a way that challenges credibility, workability, and value of the pre-existing structures. By taking an increasingly active role and position in social, economic, and political affairs of the society, women are seeking to introduce new perspectives to religion and culture as perceived by the society in general (Hirschkind 93). Ownership of property, promotion to the positions of power and authority as well as leadership roles is among the areas directly targeted by the emerging values and structures (Euben 8).
In conclusion, women play a major role in today’s politics. Being the pillar of the family, women hold much more responsibility in good guidance and leadership. Political parties which aid in women’s advancement in politics should promote women’s leadership and allocate more positions to women in the elections. Quota laws also need to be implemented in most countries for equality in political positions for women. For equitable economic growth, women need to be involved more in politics, and the negative attitude towards women leadership should also change. Given the chance, women can perform more than people could ever realize.