Ego men, yes men, convicted men and why we need more women leading

Ego men, yes men, convicted men and why we need more women leading

We need more women leading

Mexico electing its first female president is a high point for women’s representation on the global stage in a year dominated by country elections. 

Claudia Sheinbaum’s win over the weekend saw the country elevate a climate scientist to the top via a landslide election. She’s the former mayor of Mexico City,  with a huge task ahead of dealing with rising violence, including the murder of one of Mexico’s few female mayors, Yolanda Sanchez Figueroa, just last night. 

But Sheinbaums’s win comes as country elections elsewhere have been and continue to be dominated by men, with little change so far to women’s representation so far in 2024.

In many cases, it’s the same men dominating political conversations and candidacy openings who’ve been doing so for years, again taking up valuable airtime and public attention that could otherwise be spent on discussing policy issues. 

Nigel Farage’s announced return to having a swing at British politics is this week’s latest example, with the UK general election coming up in July. 

He’s taking the leadership of the right-wing populist Reform Party to stand as a candidate. 

“I believe in Britain. These boring idiots that lead the labour and Conservative parties are not worth the space,” he said, before going on to deliver an unoriginal and uninspiring line himself. “Let’s make Britain great again.” 

Having successfully campaigned for the Brexit referendum, which has left many Britons worse off, Farage has now promised to “lead a political revolt.” If elected this time, he’s promised to spend time in the United States and then support Trump’s campaign. Although, he promised to do that even when not running, so it’s a win win for Trump.

Polling suggests a Labour landslide at the July election, with no Reform candidates winning seats and a Farrage tilt likely to merely take more votes away from the conservatives and bolster Labour’s chances. 

Following India’s election over the weekend, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is on track to win his third, historic term, with little change in the proportion of women represented in parliament.

Seventy-five women are leading the vote across 543 Lok Sabha constituencies, which puts the number down from the 78 elected in 2019. It’s also a tiny portion of the 797 women candidates who put their hands up to run in the election this year. The figures show that while the number of women candidates is increasing, the strike rate of those who are winning is actually decreasing

In South Africa, having just had its own election over the weekend, thirty years after the end of apartheid the country has still not had an opportunity to elect a woman to president. 

In Portugal, women won just 76 seats at the election in March, down from 85 in the country’s 85 at the previous election

Women’s representation in parliaments internationally was at 26.9 per cent in March 2024, according to the IPU, up a tiny 0.4 percentage points since the same time in 2023

Over in US politics, with the presidential election in November, the Trump campaign now looks set to be dominated by Trump’s legal troubles and felony conviction. He’s spent much of the past week since his conviction declaring the case was “rigged”, calling the judge the “devil” and refusing to acknowledge any wrongdoing at all

According to the Center for American Women and Politics, the number of women running for the US House is down, with Republican representation dropping below candidates for the Democrats. So far, projections find that there is unlikely to be an increase in the number of women senators in 2024. Less than ten per cent of the 193 UN-recognized countries are led by women. 

Momentum has been slowing, and so far, things are not looking good for a drastic change in 2024 for women representation in parliaments, despite some spots bucking the trend, like in Mexico where the two leading candidates for president were women. 

Yet, despite women’s low representation, data shows that countries led by women tend to prioritise women’s health and well-being and generally have happier populations. In March this year, the World Happiness report found that the world’s happiest three countries were all led by women, while five of the top 20 were led by women—a ratio that far exceeds women’s representation as world leaders. 

Expect something else in the second half of the year. More egos, more time wasted on individual over policy issues and more divisiveness.


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