Sunday, 9 November 2008

The end of an era

For anyone who wants to read my rather lengthy live blog of the results tonight at The Standard, you'll find it over here. I'm sure we'll all be writing more about the result here in the coming hours, days, weeks and even months. For now I just wanted to very briefly mention something I've been meaning to do a post on since about July but kept failing to find the time for.

This election sees an end to a decade-long run of female Prime Ministers for NZ, and the beginning of a return to male leaders of both major parties. That is going to be hellishly weird. And it's a long way down either list before there's anyone XX who might fill those leadership roles anytime soon...

10 comments:

Hugh said...

And it's a long way down either list before there's anyone XX who might fill those leadership roles anytime soon...

And?

I'm sorry, I know it's kind of an article of faith here that the more female politicians in positions of power/influence, the better.

But I'm struggling to think of an incident in the last eleven years where having a woman as Prime Minister significantly mitigated the expression or practice of sexism.

Julie said...

Hugh forgive me for being a bit grumpy this morning, but I happen to think that the end of a decade of female PMs is actually something worth writing about on a feminist blog. And part of that is considering how long it might be before a woman could be in charge again, because actually if it's going to be a long time (and it looks like it is) then that says something about the role of women in our political system; that women are still marginalised and men still dominate out of proportion to their demographic.

If you can't see how having a female PM for so long has changed NZ then I'm not sure I can help you much...

Julie said...

It's not so much an article of faith as something I personally find interesting to crunch the numbers on. I suspect that my fellow bloggers don't share my fascination with calculators, so best not to assume that what I like they like too.

I think the number of women in Parliament is a significant indicator of a society's general friendliness to women. As is the level of representation of all those outside the main political elite stereotype of older hetero white men (which isn't exclusive to NZ of course). More diversity in the House to me is a signal that our society is becoming more tolerant. But if that diversity is largely restricted to tokenism, ie those people don't get any real power such as leadership roles in a party or Govt, then it's really just window-dressing.

ms poinsettia said...

Gee, how bizarre that a desire to have women in leadership positions would be an article of faith for feminists. Almost like we think women should participate in all areas of our society in an equal measure to men.

What are you saying, Hugh? That only super-feminist women count in leadership positions - otherwise we might as well stick with the male-dominated status quo? Superwomen or nothing?

Hugh said...

What are you saying, Hugh? That only super-feminist women count in leadership positions - otherwise we might as well stick with the male-dominated status quo?

I'm saying that I care about what policies politicians promote, not who those politicians are.

Tui said...

I'm saying that I care about what policies politicians promote, not who those politicians are.

The people we allow to speak for us are representative of the way we actually think about people in society - regardless of what we say. It's fine for someone to stand up and say "men and women are equal" - but if we only let men stand up and say that, we've still got a problem.

Hugh said...

Maybe we should have an upper house then... we could elect people to it in order to have them as symbols of tolerance, and they wouldn't have to be distracted by the work of preparing and passing legislation from the equally necessary work of being symbolic.

ms poinsettia said...

"I'm saying that I care about what policies politicians promote, not who those politicians are."

And I care about both.

This is basically a rehash of the 'why defend Palin from sexist criticism' thread, albeit from a slightly different angle.

While they tend to be closely allied on many issues, feminism is not merely an adjunct of lefty progressive politics. So greater female representation in politics is important independent of whether those women are progressive or conservative because I want a society in which women are equal contributors, whether I agree with every woman in a public position or not.

You've made it clear your first priority is politics. This is a feminist site: politics are important but so are feminist goals of equal representation and it's damn disappointing that with Clark's resignation that the political representation of women in NZ has just taken such a hit.

Hugh said...

You've made it clear your first priority is politics. This is a feminist site: politics are important but so are feminist goals of equal representation

Maybe we're just running on different definitions of politics, but to me, the concept of equal representation is fairly political.

Anonymous said...

Chris Trotter's article in the SST today suggested that part of the reason for Labour's defeat was that men couldn't handle a woman PM.

Personally, speaking as a white male, I liked having a PM who wasn't a boring gray white man in a suit like Jonkey. I fully agree that more women and minorities in parliament is a great idea, I think that parliament should reflect the diversity of our country...they are supposed be "representatives" after all.

That is not say that I didn't always detest Peters (for always giving in to his worst instincts) and Shipley or Coddington (for simply being ghastly people) :-)...and while in the abstract it is possibly a good idea that Christian twits like Family First et al should be able to get into parliament, I'm just as happy that those misogynistic back in the kitchen twits aren't in there. Some ideas deserve to die out.