Women’s Rights And Their Importance To The Development Of True Democracy

1843 words - 8 pages

Democracy is a form of government in which all eligible citizens participate equally in the proposal, development, and creation of laws. Under this system legal equality, freedom, and rule of law are all important characteristics, and since the 20th century, waves of democracy have brought important gains towards true liberal democracy for many nations. There are two important components that are necessary for the legitimacy of democracy. The first, participation, advocates for the inclusion and equal participation in competitive and free elections. The second is the accountability of the government, civil servants and politicians to the public and to legislative bodies, and it calls for transparency of governance, and the free flow of information. With this definition in mind, is it really possible to describe all democratic states of the 21st century as true democracies? One of the basic, fundamental principles of democracy is the participation of all eligible citizens, but in many ‘democracies’ women are underrepresented in elected positions, their interests are overlooked in the development of public policies, and there their rights or needs have not been consistently protected (United Nations). The importance of the role of women in democratic processes has been acknowledged in the 2011 General Assembly resolution on Women’s Political Participation (A/RES/66/130), which reaffirms “that the active participation of women, on equal terms with men, at all levels of decision-making is essential to the achievement of equality, sustainable development, peace and democracy” (United Nations). But, despite this recognition, adequate progress in this area has not been made. Women still remain underrepresented, marginalized, and absent in the democratic process. Therefore, true democracy requires more than free political parties and free elections, that is why in order for a true democracy to develop, it is essential to acknowledge women, their experiences, and rights as an essential component to the development of democracy.

In order to understand the importance of women to the development of a true democracy it is necessary to examine the impact that the masculinist framing of politics has on feminist International Relations. This masculinist framework ignores the unique perspective that women have on issues like peace, security, and economics and ‘perpetuates a distorted partial world view that reflects the disproportionate power of control and influence that men hold’ (Youngs, 76). In other words the dominant perception of these issues is dominated by the male-perspective which ignores women’s ‘realities and their active contributions to political and economic life’ (Youngs, 76). These realities and active contributions give women a unique perspective that is needed in order to ‘‘strengthen democracy and promote its proper functioning’ (Beijing Platform, 1995). The exclusion of women’s opinions can be historically explained by the definition of...

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