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Why countries should stop paying lip service to equal representation in parliament

Why countries should stop paying lip service to equal representation in parliament

For there to be a true democracy, a representative government is necessary. One of the cardinal problems we face as the human race is a marked lack of representation where it really matters, where the laws and policies that govern the lives of millions are made. Women, members of the LGBTQ+ community, black people, poor people and people living with disabilities are routinely excluded from decision making. This lack of inclusivity and representation is evident in the way the system antagonises them while catering to their oppressors. 

Throughout history, decisions have been made about women’s identities and bodies without their input or permission. Countless oppressive laws make life harder for women and, throughout the world, our bodies have become a subject for political deliberation. Women are denied access to birth control, safe abortions and other medical procedures because of laws made to control women and their bodies without consideration for their bodily autonomy and right to self-determination. Similarly, the lack of equitable representation in parliament is glaring in the oppressive and violent laws passed in countries like Nigeria (the SSMPA) and more recently, Ghana. 

In recent times, in the face of the worldwide push for affirmative action towards equitable representation for women, we have seen many face-value, surface level, empty gestures that ultimately do nothing for the average woman in society. Tokenism is rife and ‘girl boss representation (rich, white women) is mostly what we get. If the representative of a certain oppressed demographic is far removed from the reality of the average member of that demographic, then what’s the point? 

Members of oppressed groups deserve a seat at the table. We are tired of the ruling class making decisions that shape and alter the course of our lives without our input. Parliaments composed of true, competent representatives of the various groups in the countries or states they represent would be a step towards a better, more equitable society. 

Also read: Why Equal Representation Of Women Matter – DocumentWomen

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