The woes of Belizean women in politics are well-documented, but there was a new tack in the ongoing discussion in the form of a conference held in Belize City on Monday, concerning what organizer for the Gender and Justice Foundation of Costa Rica calls the sharing of power between men and women.
We hear more from that organizer, Rodrigo Jimenez.
“If we want to construct democracy, we have to share the power with the women. We need half of the parliaments to be women, because they have different perspective of men. That’s why it is very important to share the power.
In the process of socialization of our women and men, men in the socialization thinks that he has to be the leader and has to have the power. Women think that they have to obey the men.
It’s also constructed by the division of sexual work. Women are in charge of the house, and men are in charge of the politics. But we really need for the women to be part of the politics in Belize.”
Guest presenter Senator Maurwen Clarke of Costa Rica says that women must be at the table in order to inspire change.
“For me, that’s my passion. I’ve been a public servant for nall my life., for the last over 30 years. It’s a long time, and I’ve lived a lot of things.”
It’s not easy, so when I see young girls, especially because I like women, the gender issues, especially because there are lots of needs there, I encourage them and make them clear that it’s not easy. You got to build up a thick skin, because there are going to be a lot of things for you to get out,
First of all you have to have a passion over it and really believe that you can make a difference, and start making that difference. [If] anything happens, [it will] make you stronger and stronger, because it needs a lot of inner strength, a high self-esteem, and especially [you have to] want to make a difference.
I love the idea of young women going into politics, because if you’re not on the table, as somebody said a while ago, you’re in the menu. So you’ve got to be on the table to make those changes.”
One woman who knows all about the bumps and bruises of politics in Belize is the only current female member of the House of Representatives, Belize Rural Central Area Representative Hon. Dolores Balderamos-Garcia. She shared with us her hopes for Monday’s activity.
“The conference will be what we make of it because you get out of something what you put into it and I am delighted that there are women across the political spectrum here, there are women activists, there are people who have been in this business for a good while and so I really feel that if we have a rich discussion and its usually rich when women come together, we can come up with some solid recommendations.
Right now we are looking at the barriers to women getting into politics, what women can do to lobby for justice and human rights when you are within parliaments, what kind of changes we need to bring about in our country, not only to encourage more women to step forward, but also when are in the political process, to make a difference.”