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U.S. TV becomes Reality in Africa

The only female president the U.S. has ever had is played by Geena Davis on a fictional TV show.  However, a recent Christian Science Monitor article says that Liberia may be one large step ahead of us in that department.  The votes are still being counted, but it is very likely that Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf will be elected the first woman head of state on her entire continent.  Even more, Johnson-Sirleaf, a former World Bank official, represents the trend of increasing numbers of women politicians in legislatures and top positions in many African countries.

One of the reasons that I think this article is particularly interesting is because it highlights a positive side of Africa.  Often times, the continent is characterized by its very real problems with corruption, poverty, etc.  Although these issues are important, as activists it is key to emphasize the improvements that give us hope for the future.

For example, the article suggests that the increasing election of women politicians can be taken as a rejection of corruption.

 

Many African countries have become democracies within the last five years, but dishonesty and bribery continued in the formerly male-dominated governments.  As the African people elect women, they may be doing so with the hope that these new female politicians will bring change. 

“There has been no women’s name associated with major corruption,” says Johnson-Sirleaf.  This is certainly true and sign of hope, but the article also suggests that maybe women have not been corrupt because they have not had the chance.  It is only recently that there have been so many female politicians in Africa, and they are closely scrutinized once in office.

Even so, the article has some impressive statistics that show Africa is outdoing the U.S. with the role of women in politics.  With 49%, Rwanda’s legislature has the highest percentage of women in the world!  Also, the deputy president of South Africa and vice presidents of Mozambique and Zimbabwe are all women.  These inspiring steps forward in Africa give the U.S. a hard act to follow.  If parties and voters in developing countries are able to elect so many women, why can’t we do so in America?

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