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Editorial

Day of the woman

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By EMN Updated: Aug 04, 2013 9:47 pm
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U.S. President Barack Obama has nominated Deborah Lee James, a defence industry executive and former assistant secretary of defense to head the Air Force replacing Michael Donley.Her nomination was made not based on gender but because of Lee James’s strong record of public service and leadership in various capacities in both the Government and private sectors in a career spanning 30 years. Her experience makes her uniquely qualified to be Secretary of the U.S. Air Force. In American terms a Secretary equals a Minister in countries that had been former colonies of what is now the British Commonwealth. If confirmed by the Senate, Lee James would be one of the few women ever to serve as the senior civilian leader of an armed services branch.Deborah Lee James continues to tread the path set by recent American women leaders like Condoleeza Rice and Hilary Rodham Clinton both of whom have left an impact on U.S, national, and by extension, international politics, the first one during George Bush’s Presidency and the second during Obama’s first tenure.
Usually, Americans have had the first lead in almost every field, save politics. In politics, other countries have had a head start where women leaders are concerned. The late Indira Gandhi has left such an impact on the Indian polity that cannot be erased. Closer home, there was Benazir Bhutto the first woman Prime Minister of Pakistan, an incredible achievement considering the Muslim traditional concept and attitude regarding the role of women in general. Sri Lanka also had Presidents Sirimavo Badaranaike and Kumaratunge while Megawati Sukarnoputri was elected President of Indonesia as did Gloria Macapagal Arroya of the Phillipines.So also Yingluck Shiniwatra, first lady PM of Thailand and Myanmar’s opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi is next presidential hopeful. In Bangladesh there is PM Sheilkh Hasina of the Awami League and her predecessor Khaleda Zia.
Germany is making do with Chancellor (equivalent to President) Angela Merkel while Switzerland has a woman President. In South America, five countries have women Presidents. Ukraine also had a woman president who was recently sentenced to seven years imprisonment for nepotism and corruption during her rule. Presently, the President of South Korea is Park Guen Hye.
Ever since the Arab Spring uprising last year, the male-Muslim dominated Middle-East countries including North Africa have seen the assertion, louder voice, and participation of women in their national affairs. Thus far, we see that throughout history, women unsung or not even lauded have had a considerable impact on affairs of their countries and, by extension, the world.
What is relevant in present context is back home, two women contested the recent general elections to the Nagaland legislative Assembly. That they lost is beside the point. What they did was to take the first step, a baby step perhaps, but in the right spirit and direction to overcome the barriers set up by man based on traditional customs. It may be recalled, however, that the only woman of distinction in Naga politics is Rano Shaiza, a former school headmistress who, as United Democratic Front (UDF) candidate won a landslide victory in the Lok Sabha elections in mid-1970s defeating no less a personage as S.C. Jamir.
Let us, therefore, encourage our women to come out more from the kitchen and bedroom and participate more vigorously in affairs of State, politics, social or any field of endeavour when a number of them are already on the move. The more the merrier. For, in Nagaland like elsewhere in the world the day of the woman has dawned.

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By EMN Updated: Aug 04, 2013 9:47:19 pm