Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Do Female Rulers help to promote Gender Equality or Women’s Rights?

With the death of Margaret Thatcher, the old question comes to mind: why has no other female followed in her footsteps in the UK? Why she didn’t inspire other females? Did womankind turn on her or has the country run out of talented females? I think that is unlikely. When Margaret Thatcher won the election, I recall the chauvinistic jibes; like the Alf Garnet character, some argued that she is really a man in disguise in that her character, psyche and personality is essentially male, but her hormones went towards the other direction and gave her female organs and appearance.

It must have been awful for her husband to hear this type of comment. Spitting Image, the satire on TV, conveyed the impression that he was largely confined to Thatcher’s harem. Perhaps if he had done something interesting, like adultery or file for divorce, then the press would have given him greater media coverage.  And the few times he appeared on the media, he had a fixed morbid expression; it made me wonder, was this due to his marriage or his nature. Regardless, he is due some credit; there was activity in the bedroom, and the couple produced healthy children. The Imam in me says MashaAllah, and the ethnic part of me says “shabbash”, loosely translated as “well done”.
The chauvinistic response towards the first female Prime Minister was expected, given that it was and still is a male dominated society; in fact almost all societies in the world are male dominated. Please remember this next time you have another pop at Muslims. In addition, by nature we are all Luddites to some extent. We resist and fear change, because entering unknown territory is scary; hence, this has also contributed towards the resistance to the new female leadership.

Apart from Margaret Thatcher, Queen Victoria who peddled drugs in China, and Queen Elizabeth I, the ‘virgin’ Queen, has made their marks on British Imperial history. They are clearly the exception to the rule of male leaders and they must excel in some way to succeed in the first place. This implies, there is no room for the average female to occupy leadership, like the average male leadership of J. Callaghan, T. Heath, and John Major. By inference, there is even less hope of success for those females below the average. Hence you will never get the female equivalent of Ronald Reagan, George Bush II or Dan Quayle who came so close. Or was it Dan Quail, as I recall the potato-gate scandal!

Margaret Thatcher remains the first, and the only female Prime Minister of the UK, and this is likely to be the case for the foreseeable future. Just look at the male dominated cabinets across the three parties, despite the gender based policies to get women there. Does this tell us something about the gender difference? Maybe women do not want to pursue this; and the test of human history shows leaders have almost always been male. But obsessed by gender equality, there is a needless drive to alter the course of human nature and history. No matter how hard you try, it’s doomed to fail, like the failure of Catholic celibacy; the power of human nature is too strong. If you are not going to procreate with a female, you will be forced to take other measures, unless you have immense will power.         

The US, leader of the Western world, by inference leader of women’s rights, according to the statistics led the world on rape and nasty serial killers that target vulnerable females; allegedly they wage war selectively to liberate women in the Muslim world. Ironically, the US has yet to elect a woman to the White House as the first female President, yet, ‘oppressive’ male dominated Muslim societies like Pakistan and Bangladesh, have made considerable progress, even countries like India where female infanticide is rife are ahead of the US. Maybe, the US will force the issue of electing a female President through collusion of the two dominant parties (Republican and Democrat) putting forward two female Presidential candidates. That’s the great thing about democracy there is always a choice to vote, even though competitive candidates have almost identical philosophy with similar backers from the corporate world!

Similarly, in the name of equality, women are being literally pushed in some countries to occupy positions in the company board of directors, through ‘positive’ discrimination.  How far should we go with this push towards gender equality? If father and mother are equal, should the distinguishing terms be abolished now? That should follow with abolishing gender based terms in general, and facilities like gender based toilets. It does get confusing; she demands gender equality, and then wants special treatment because of her gender, so she says she is a lady, and she wants to be treated like one.  

Did the first female Prime Minister of the UK leave the same mark as the Suffragette movement of the 1920s demanding voting rights? Regardless of your opinion, I prefer women contesting for intellectual leadership, giving an input to formulate policies, setting examples as business leaders and elsewhere, rather than roaming the streets topless like wild animals, as seen recently in Ukraine, and this virus is spreading. Those ladies should put their clothes back on and if they are really keen on promoting welfare for women, then they should address things like the flesh trade that is flourishing in that part of the world.    

Is gender equality synonymous with furthering women’s rights and welfare? I think the two issues have become muddled; gender equality works to negate the inherent gender differences, and no matter how it is explained, the result is people see gender equality in absolute term. It stems from the odious and crude ideology of feminism that puts the genders on a war path. Instead the focus should be on promoting women’s rights and welfare within the cultural paradigm that exists, rather than trying to impose a Judeo-Christian centric viewpoint of gender equality or women's rights. 

Yamin Zakaria (
Published on 10/04/2013
London, UK

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