17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her. – John 20:17-18
If I can remember correctly, certainly for all of my life, Queen Elizabeth II has always been the Head of the United Kingdom (formerly Great Britain); she is head of the fourth largest intergovernmental organization (after the UN with 193 member states, Group of 77 and China -157 member states, African Union – 54 member states, and Commonwealth – 53 member states).
She has done a great job being at the helm of her country’s government and the intergovernmental grouping – winning one major war (Falklands), partaking in several other joint battles in the Middle East etc.; enjoyed the loyalty of 11 prime ministers, two of which happened to be women. She also happens to be the longest serving monarch, with no waning popularity locally or globally.
“The world is supposed to be ruled by men,” my in-law Final Nseula challenged my Facebook post of a picture of the leaders of leaders at the G20 Summit in Argentina, who were all men, and a few women. (The one at the African Summit was no better.) The challenge came complete with a “Read your Bible,” advice from my beloved relative.
As the tirade continued in open court, I was reminded of the very biblical fact that women were the last at the foot of the cross, where Jesus hung, slain and dead; they followed Joseph of Arimathea; followed and saw where he lay buried; and they returned and were the first to see the risen Christ.
For Christians (men and women) who hold the view that women should not lead, and carry this tenet into political and social arena, must be reading another version of the bible. Apart from the women that could not keep away from seeing to finality the fate of Jesus, the bible is replete with other examples where God uses women to advance his agenda: saving the fallen man and woman He had created.
This is not a biblical discourse, so I’ll mention two examples. The first is that of the three women that led to Moses leading his kinsmen out of Egypt back to Canaan. Scholars of this time in our history will recall that Moses was hidden in the bulrushes by the river banks of the Nile, when Pharaoh’s daughter young the Jewish baby boy. She convinced her father (the same evil Pharaoh that was killing all Jewish boys, to prevent the Hebrew slaves increase in his country). It was also Moses’ mother who was tasked to nurse the Hebrew boy until he grew – this was after young Miriam told the Egyptian princess that she knew someone that could nurse they boy.
The second instance in the bible where God used a woman to advance His agenda, was when a prostitute in Jericho hid Jewish spies that came into the area, in their journey from Egypt. God could have used anybody, some man or other person; but He used a simple prostitute in the city of Jericho. This act placed Rehab in the lineage of Jesus.
Two weeks ago, when a picture of the G-20 leaders reveals the scanty presence of women in leadership roles; the picture of the African leaders Summit, revealed the same grim outlook: no women in leadership roles. It’s been 20 years since the Beijing Platform for Action was etched in China, and the drama about women leadership is akin to dancing in the mad, on a rainy day two steps forward, five steps back.
- Women, where are we going?
- Why aren’t we getting there?
- Do we have a game plan?
The one cardinal rule that women should realize and have an A-ha moment, is that no one on this planet will give you the coveted elected office on a silver platter; unless you are born into royalty like my Aunt Bettie in the UK. Power must be taken, grabbed, or wrestled out of the hands that hold it. Take power by storm, but have a game plan.
Thus, the response to the first question is, of course, we are going toward elected positions in the presidency, parliament (congress), or council seats. This is plain and clear. And anyone who counters by saying women shouldn’t be in leadership positions because “women aren’t meant to lead, should point such challenger to the three pointers above (three women around Moses, Rahab the prostitute, and the women at the tomb who first witnessed the risen Christ).
In the second response, in many cases, women are fighting the wrong enemy, have pinpointed the wrong enemy or women are inadvertently leaving behind the good supporters that could be their destiny helpers that would goad them into those elected positions.
This brings be to the third question response. What is the strategy to get into elected positions? Are women scouring all the bases, deep-rooting places where they should go, even if it means seeking help from unlikely support.
It is a known and proven fact that globally more women turn out to vote on election day. On that day, the women, man and youth are respectively alone in the booth; it is assumed they vote their conscience.
What is the game plan to get this (predominantly majority population) to vote for you woman candidate?
Game Plan 1: Enlist district level Support Point Persona that will assist in mobilizing the district support base.
Game Plan 2: Get statistics in that area, find the issues that affect this woman you are wooing, speak to those issues. Is it access to healthcare, clean water, education, the HIV pandemic, child marriages, teenage pregnancies, high taxes, crime and escalation of illicit guns, violence against women and sexual harassment, gender disparities, youth unemployment, access to business loans, unhealthy cultural practices, corruption, or the absent leaders at weddings or funerals? Once you know the challenges facing your prospective voter, ask her how she might assist you once elected to office.
Game Plan 3: Rave up the woman’s card. This is a powerful base, with plenty of check marks on the list in Game Plan 2.
Game Plan 4: Get off your high heeled shoes and walk into every woman’s home and ask her for your vote; in other word, speak to the woman. Hold extensive fund-raising drives, using the women Support Point Persona. Also invite these to your homes from time to time.
Game Plan 5: Unless someone can prove me wrong, women’s issues affect all women. Women aspiring political office, should make every woman in their areas/constituencies, their friend; convince the women that a woman in public office will personally represent women, highlight their issues and work to lift standards of women in Malawi. in the parliament. In an election year, women running for office, must aspire to get every vote from every woman and every gender-sensitized man; this requires women appealing to women, women burying the hatred-of-other-women hatchet. Vote for a woman. Support women.
Game Plan 6: Apart from burying the “hatchet of hating other women,” women contestants should avoid being a megaphone highlighting the negatives of other women contenders. (This usually help them, and it is like campaigning for the rival, only while using one’s own platform. Just speak about you.
The United States of America, which has yet to elect its first ever female president, this past election season elected a record number of members of congress. In January 2019, over 100 women will be sworn in as representatives in elected offices (both national and local offices). The women Game Plan card helped. So did reaching to gender-sensitized or gender-focused men.
Long live genuine democracy!