Thursday, July 24, 2008

Female Politicians

Another interesting article to come from allAfrica - an opinion piece entitled "To the Pompous Female Ministers" by Rachel Horner.

The cruxt of Ms Horner's article deals with female politicians whose attitudes and behaviours leave a lot to be desired. By that I mean that the writer believes that these female politicians - in Sierre Leone - are perceived as being "pompous, snobbish and arrogant when given power". They suddenly become distant and unapproachable after assuming their positions in government - where prior to obtaining office, these women were just the opposite.

Ms Horner continues: "Clearly, we don't advocate for self aggrandizement but for women to look back at those that will come after them. Females that had the opportunity to attain certain heights in government should work in the interest of those looking up to them as role models. They should be a good example so that more women will be voted into offices."

Now, I am the first to admit that my own knowledge of the politics and politicians of Sierre Leone is equivalent to a big fat zero - but I seem to recall a very similar case of a female political leader who so alienated those she sought support from that they turned against her. For those familiar with English History I give you Empress Maud. For those unfamiliar, a brief biography:

Maud / Matilda was the daughter of King Henry I of England. For political reasons she was married at a very young age to a much older German Emperor. Having grown accustomed to her position and status, her lot was much reduced when following the death of her husband, her father married her off to a much younger man, whose "social standing" was considerably lower than that of Emperor.

As fate would have it, her brother died in a tragic accident - and so Maud was her father's only "legitimate" heir - and was acknowledged as such during his lifetime. Long story short - the death of Maud's father Henry and the "seizure" of his crown by Maud's cousin led to civil war in England.

And after initially rallying support, Maud eventually alienated a great many of her supporters through her perceived arrogance and haughtiness. And thus, having lost the good-will of the people, Maud was forced to retire from the field of battle - the succession of the English throne eventually passing to her son.

Lesson: as you climb the ladder of success, just remember who put you there in the first place - because they might just assist your journey back down - and your landing may not be all that graceful.

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