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Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian. Every hyperlink connects to something related directly or thematically to that which is highlighted.

Wednesday 13 February 2013

Women In Poliltics, Diversity in Society

Anger is a reactive emotion, as is fear.  Both serve a purpose - to motivate people to respond to threats through either fight or flight.  The problem is, these limbic reactions paint with a pretty broad brush - we will feel equally uncomfortable around someone with a physically manifested contagious disease (like Ebola) as we will around a burn victim.
So, we fear things that our reactive brains perceive as threats to our health, safety or ability to promote ourselves - our status.  Even when they're not really threats to begin with.  Even when they might just be opportunities for growth, instead.  The more competitive, combative we are as a society, the more prone we are to potential threat identification, which is basically what stigma is.
Women in politics increases the pool of potential competitors in an already narrow field.  If you're hyper-combative, anything that whittles away your odds of getting a seat or, more broadly, a job in general is seen as threatening your chances.  The same applies to laws that make it easier for New Migrants to vote or seek work. 
Like any fear, we are only controlled by it so long as we refuse to recognize and confront it.  When we do so, we realize that FDR was right - fear itself, not the thing feared, is the problem.
For this reason it was incredibly smart of Kathleen Wynne to confront head-on her gender and sexuality right out of the starting gate.  Consider it a kind of inoculation that helps people get past their fear and instead, focus on solutions to the broader challenges society faces.
Which is a non-combative, strategic approach to politics that perhaps plans more than one political generation ahead.  While I agree that it is great that a rising number of women in Canadian politics is giving society cause to address gender prejudices, don't short change women the wealth of other contributions they bring to the table.
This isn't the first glass ceiling women have had to break through.  It takes a hell of a lot of persistence and planning to change a society, yet it's continues to happen, doesn't it?
Progress is like water that way - one way or another, it'll change the landscape.

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