Weekly report of a young feminist #9: Gender quotas represent a significant necessity for limping democracies like ours
Let me answer the first question which probably popped in your head: no, the quotas don’t immediately favour women. Globally, quotas in political competition usually pertain both genders, and their main importance lies in the necessity of gender equality in the world governments. Important fact to mention is that quotas are not acquired to prioritize women, but rather to balance the proportion of men and women in general. Common phenomenon is to target the candidate lists which in some cases mean that first two places are obliged to be taken by both man and woman. This weekend the election in Slovakia will define our position and relevance as European allies. Therefore, the timing is about right to dedicate some space to gender quotas and explain, why is it relevant to keep the feminist ideology in mind also during the electoral decisions.
Most importantly, applying gender quotas doesn’t create an impact on our individual votes. Functioning democracies which celebrate freedom in its every form would never allow intervention in human’s fundamental rights and yet those democratic countries are the first to implement such quotas. This means that quotas usually balance the competition and ensure the highest possible impartiality. Now the simple question follows, why are we so against it? Currently, our situation in V4 is very complicated and society is attacked by various authoritarian models accompanied by restrictions targeting people’s free will. Moreover, fake news is their favourite tool. Disinformation is on its rise and those who use it are actively trying to change the public opinion on many topics, among which gender is the ultimate enemy. In general, lack of information about quotas generate the opportunity to become a popular public threat.
Several countries in Europe, for instance Belgium, Spain or Finland already implemented such regulations and their parliaments are more diverse than in the countries where are the quotas rejected. In Belgium, almost 43% of the seats are taken by women, in Spain the number reaches almost 48% and we all know the success of Finish government where it’s composed of female prime minister and 11 female ministers (out of 18). This illustrates that world have enough competent women to run the countries, however, the reason why are women so unrepresented originates in the past and in stereotypes. We must realize that politics was made by and for men in a patriarchal society so unfortunately few decades of feminism and voting rights will not change its origin. Therefore, we as a reliable society, have to help disadvantaged to gain the general balance which is so essential. As we created voting system based on several regions within one country, so everyone can elect their representative, we should create the opportunity for women to have the same chance of being elected and become political leaders.
Finally, my choices for the elections tomorrow won’t come as a surprise. I’ll vote for PS/Spolu because of their progressivity and solicitude for women’s status. My number one choice from their candidate list is Simona Petrík (#9) who is the first politician openly campaigning with the feminist agenda and who established feminist platform Ženy Spolu within the party. My second vote goes to Lucia Plaváková (#28) who is the LGBTQ activist and wants to live happily with her female partner and their kid in Slovakia. Which is indeed currently an impossible task. My third favourite is Petra Hitková (#75), expert for the education who is trying to bring our school system back to life. Last position in my ranking is taken by Tamara Stohlová (#43) who is a young and talented environmentalist fighting everyone’s fight for climate.
Feel free to inspire by my list and I hope to see you in your polling station. Good luck to us!