My king­dom for woman in the PM’s Chair!

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

Last week­end I re­luc­tantly got caught up in a cen­turies-old de­bate about women and lead­er­ship, specif­i­cally po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship. To say my in­put in the dis­course was as generic as my male coun­ter­parts’ would be an un­der­state­ment. How many times has this con­ver­sa­tion snuck up over din­ner, drinks, at the of­fice, lec­ture the­aters and let’s ad­mit it, even in the bed­room. I agreed to par­tic­i­pate in the de­bate mainly be­cause I rec­og­nize our na­tion could do with a lot less testos­terone and a whole lot more es­tro­gen.

Now we need not get into de­tails about the ar­gu­ment my lesser-learned friends of­fered for pooh-poohing the very idea of a leader who was not male. Words such as emo­tional, crazy, weak, lonely and yes, nasty, were tossed around. But what most in­ter­ested me was how such words echo other mis­per­cep­tions about women. Per­haps this is why our so­ci­ety dis­plays lit­tle re­spect for women and why rape is now so com­mon­place. But, as they say, that’s for an­other show!

What is se­ri­ously worth dis­cus­sion is what this coun­try could be if more es­tro­gen landed in the PM’s chair. I re­mem­ber when I first came to Saint Lu­cia a few years ago, and the then House op­po­si­tion party leader was Gail Rigob­ert. I could not re­sist a smile as I be­held the bold, bald and breasted MP ad­dress­ing the House. I re­mem­ber think­ing to my­self “this coun­try is head­ing in a pro­gres­sive de­vel­oped state.” Leav­ing me to won­der what was hold­ing back my own home­land. Any­way, I’ve quickly ad­justed to the re­al­ity of this coun­try.

So what would Saint Lu­cia look like if more women were ac­tively lead­ing gov­ern­ment? I am fully aware of the min­is­te­rial re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of ed­u­ca­tion, health and ju­nior for­eign af­fairs. Not say­ing those facets of gov­ern­ment don’t mat­ter, but let’s be hon­est, that’s not where the real power is, cor­rect? Po­lit­i­cal his­tory has proven that fe­male-led ad­min­is­tra­tions make the tough­est eco­nomic de­ci­sions with­out pause for po­lit­i­cal ap­pease­ment. Mar­garet Thatcher would nat­u­rally first come to mind with her pub­lic sec­tor re­form (some­thing none of our gov­ern­ments would even come close to con­sid­er­ing for the sake of po­lit­i­cal sur­vival). Or even closer to home Dame Eu­ge­nia Charles of Do­minica. And we all know if we were to men­tion po­lit­i­cal icons across the re­gion, her name would be listed among Sir Comp­ton, Papa Bird, Mau­rice Bishop and the likes.

So with pro­to­col al­ready es­tab­lished, would Gail or Sarah make some iron-balls de­ci­sions for the lo­cal econ­omy? Per­haps there would’ve been an im­me­di­ate pub­lic de­ci­sion in re­gards to their party’s ide­al­is­tic VAT re­duc­tion plan. Maybe even the speedy res­o­lu­tion of IMPACS and a pub­lic dec­la­ra­tion of ORC. I mean, ac­cord­ing to the stereo­types, as a woman they would want to check it off their check­list. Cor­rect?

Just imag­ine if there were a breasted PM hav­ing tea with Theresa May? Guy May­ers would’ve had his in­stru­ments by now wouldn’t he?

Ah­h­hhh what a per­fect al­ter­nate uni­verse Saint Lu­cia would flour­ish in, if that were the case. But I pre­fer re­al­ity to fic­tion. As I told my lesser­learned as­so­ci­ates over the week­end, if Ler­vene could get a drive­way named af­ter her and Dar­ren a sta­dium, we ob­vi­ously have a long way to go be­fore there are any bras in the PM’s of­fice. Adios un­til next time . . .

We are all ex­cited about the pos­si­bil­ity of Hil­lary Clin­ton be­com­ing the first fe­male Pres­i­dent of the US. How­ever, would we share the same en­thu­si­asm if our own lip­stick­wear­ing politi­cians be­came Prime Min­is­te­rial fron­trun­ners?

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