For Sista’s 2nd Birthday Competition question, we challenged our readers to explore why it’s important for women to be in positions of leadership and what that means for society.We’ve all heard the reasons why women CAN’T be leaders in Vanuatu – from Bible hemi talem se man hemi hed blong haos, from kastom hemi no allowem – now we wanted to hear why women CAN be and SHOULD be leaders. Out of dozens of thoughtful responses, Tristina Karae is the lucky winner !
This is her response to the question “Why is it important for women to be in leadership positions?”
“Women should be in leadership positions because:
1. It will become a part of the norm – societal change. Our society does not look favorably on women leaders because of the patriarchal system enforced by custom and religion which created an unwritten gender criterion for leadership roles. Having more and more women leaders will transform our society’s perception of women in leadership roles and ultimately we will be more focused on who is the most qualified, experienced or motivated in that field to lead as opposed to what is the applicant or person’s gender.
2. It is a form of inter-generational empowerment of women. A female in a leadership position empowers women and girls regardless of age. When we seek to inspire women or girls I don’t want to have to look to other countries for role models and inspirational leaders – this should come second to highlighting our Ni-Vanuatu women in leadership. I want to be able to say your gender has absolutely no bearing on your success or failure and mean it, then be able to point out different females who are leaders in their field to substantiate. I am of the opinion that we have missed out and will miss out on generations of female leadership potential because of our gender limitations and what little number of female leaders we have as role models from this limitation to inspire women. Consequently we have missed out on meaningful progress because we were so focused on gender.
I do understand that this also places a great burden on females who aspire to lead as sadly we live in a society where if you as a female leader slip up, it is not taken as just your shortcomings but is an inference of the capabilities of all Ni-Vanuatu women. An inference we are fighting to change but until we as a society recognize this, you represent all of us!
I have written too much and my two reasons might just be one reason stated differently but ultimately my hopes are that we strive to provide an environment conducive to Ni-Vanuatu excellence regardless of gender which means advancement for all of us ”
Thank you so much to all supporters for celebrating our birthday with us!!