Despite Seychelles being deemed to have a “matriarchal” society, with women predominately bring the main breadwinners for their families, politics remains – unfortunately – male-dominated. Women face a wide array of challenges in politics; they are judged by how they look and how they are dressed, more than their ideas. And when they do express their views and opinions, they are held to a much higher standard than men.
When women work to rise to the top, whether in politics, business or community advocacy, they face resistance, discrimination, social stereotypes and double standards. This is something has undoubtedly deterred many other women from entering into the political arena, and it is something that ONE SEYCHELLES’ formidable female candidates are working to combat. They are fiercely motivated and dedicated, undeniably intelligent, and are committed to giving voice to the marginalized and oppressed members of society.
They have seen the underbelly of local politics already, being on the receiving end of significant verbal abuse and bullying tactics. One candidate was harassed in her home, and another’s home was vandalized. Still, these women stand strong in the face of it all. Dorina Vidot, Elna Etienne, Joella St. Ange and Maryline Zita Marie comprise a handful of women participating in the upcoming National elections.
Underrepresentation of women in political life contributes to exacerbating inequality. The benefits of women’s participation in exercising political power clearly cannot be called into question. If half of the population is excluded, sustainable development is nothing more than a thought. It has been shown that a greater representation of women in parliament ensures reform of discriminatory laws. Women’s political participation and leadership are necessary for democracy to function most effectively.
We know our female candidates are the pillars of their respective communities; they are enthusiastic, principled and eager to use their platforms to benefit the Seychellois who have been overlooked and neglected for far too long. They would be tremendous assets to the National Assembly, and to the Republic, and we wish them well.