We are not using the word “Venus” as a planetary reference, neither are we making reference to astrological signs or the horoscope. Nay, our use of the term “Venus” is as a representation of all women. Of course, we are drawing on the 1992 book by John Gray, the American relationship expert who suggests in his magnum opus, MEN ARE FROM MARS, WOMEN ARE FROM VENUS, that men (Mars) and women (Venus) are distinctly different and the sexes respond to problems and arrive at solutions in vastly different ways. Aha! Arrive at solutions – “solutions” is the operative word! Seems, in our current political mileau, we are bedeviled by mounting problems, and desperately in search of solutions, and the body politic appears increasingly inclined to give Venus a chance to tackle those problems and come up with meaningful and workable solutions. Venus is ascendant!
This much is evident by the fact that there are so many women throwing their hats into the political ring. For example, the leader of the Democratic National Alliance (DNA), MP Joanne Massiah, who will be seeking another term as the representative of All Saint’s East and St. Luke’s, will be joined by Erica Edwards, a political newcomer who will be contesting the Rural South constituency. In speaking of her candidacy, Edwards articulates her party’s “desire for a new kind of leadership.” Public Relations Officer for the DNA, Maleka Parker, has in the past, echoed that theme of a new kind of leadership and vision for Antigua and Barbuda, and we here at Observer media would not be surprised to see her accept the challenge and announce that she too will be contesting a seat on the DNA ticket. To that riveting prospect, we say “Atta-girl!” The more women the better!
That last sentiment was actually echoed yesterday by Senator Shawn Nicholas, the United Progressive Party candidate for St. Phillip’s North. Nicholas said that she was at first discouraged from entering politics by persons who referred to her as being the ‘fairer sex’ and not made of the stern stuff required for a political fight. Hmmm! Sexism, eh? Anyway, she intimated that she is hoping that more women will come to the fore (rather than being pushed) and raise their hands and answer the call to service. Of course, notwithstanding the naysayers, Senator Nicholas would not be denied on account of her sex, and she has done well in a field dominated by men. So too did Dr. Jacqui Quinn-Leandro, who made history as the first woman to be elected as a parliamentary representative. Quinn-Leandro also made history as the first woman to be appointed as acting prime minister of our fair state. A shattered glass-ceiling, anyone? We certainly think so!
Meanwhile, the ruling Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP) has announced that three women will vie to represent the ABLP in the constituency of St. John’s Rural East. Those women are Maria Bird-Browne, wife of Prime Minister Gaston Browne who will come up against the sitting President of the Senate, Alincia Williams-Grant and Senator Shenella Govia. Again, these are not women of straw, and we seem to be in for a healthy and robust candidate-selection process in Rural
East. Other ranking women on the government side of the ledger are Senators Maureen Payne-Hyman and Mary Clare Hurst, the general secretary of the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party and Chairwoman of the Antigua and Barbuda Port Authority Board. Senator Hurst was a ‘first woman’ in many of the positions that she has held throughout her political and leadership career. Seems, the path forward has been cleared!
Manifestly, the notion of women making up big numbers on a party ticket and at the highest levels of our government is not a bridge too far. In any event, perhaps the time has come for that breath of fresh air that women can bring to our political discourse and governance. A pox on sexism and misogyny! The time has come for an infusion of that audacious womanly instinct – that intangible touch that women bring to bear when confronting problems. Venus is ascendant, as well she ought to be!
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