WOMEN IN POLITICS AND PUBLIC
+ 10 Agenda 21, Chapter 24:
Global action for women towards sustainable and equitable development
tel.: 604 946516
Agenda 21 under chapter 24.2. proposes to national governments
the following aims:
- Increase the proportion of women among the decision-makers,
planners, technical advisers, managers and highly qualified personnel
in the field of environmental issues and development.
- Formulate and implement a clear governmental policy, national
directives, strategy and plans allowing to institute equality
of women from all social points of view…
In the Czech Republic, the government is 100 % masculine while
in the Parliament and Senate hardly 10 % of members are women. The
50 wealthiest people in our country are men, criminality is up to
95 % men‘s business. As a result a materialistic-consumerist society
has developed in which profit, money and prosperity are raised to
the top of human endeavors. The working of the society is subordinated
to this vision. The early nineties slogan that “when we have enough
money, we can permit ourselves the luxury of a sound environment”.
The idolatry of money leads to the consequences not only in the
extreme form of addiction to work, which does not serve to satisfy
the basic necessities of life, but has become its own aim. People
go to work, in order to buy a car they need to get to work. Consequences?
Stress, lack of time to cultivate interpersonal relations, to care
not only for oneself and one’s own health but also to one’s environment
and closest surroundings. It can be affirmed that, on a worldwide
scale, the present-day ideology of consumerist society is a threat
to life on Earth on an unprecedented scale. Unlike the ideologies
of the past, which affected the freedom of speech and thought, these
threaten the basic resources, such as the need to breathe clean
air, to drink unspoiled water, to have sufficient food…
In my practice I come upon the phenomenon that hardly anybody understands
why women should participate more in the social decision-making
process. I can mention at random:
- The feminine principle consists in a positive approach to life,
love, care, emphasis on ”being” not ”ownership”, creativity, complexity
of vision, sense of equality instead of hierarchical principles,
understanding on the basis of empathy, intuition...
- Women do not consider nature as something ”external”, but consider
themselves and their surroundings as part of nature…
- Relationships are women’s priority, they understand better interrelationships…
- Mothers cannot wish their children to live in a life-threatening
environment, or to become victims of violence. To give birth and
to raise a human being is much more difficult than to take somebody’s
WOMEN IN POLITICS AND PUBLIC
Women’s worries worldwide – Life is not for sale
In Autumn 2001, Agentura GAIA organized in cooperation with Diverse
Women for Diversity an international conference on the theme “Life
is not for sale” - Women, children and nature – alternative to the
WB, IMF and WTO policy. The conference analyzed the policies of
international financial institutions, headed by men, whose decisions
control the world. Vandana Shiva from India spoke on “Globalization
and poverty”, describing how multinational companies, which can
afford to sell cereals cheaper than the production costs of the
growers, eliminated them, raising an enormous wave of protests.
Jean Grossholtz from USA informed on international corporations
and the growth of their influence over natural and economical resources.
Among other things, she said: “We in the USA we are taught a credo,
which we are supposed to believe in, that the good life is the material
life, secured with money. In the world of consumerist society you
are attacked from all sides by this credo. It is very difficult
for example to disregard publicity. But if we want to live in a
human and humane world, then we must try to overcome the commercialization
of everything around us.” Maria Mies from Germany spoke about how
“The global system of free trade is a neocolonialist system of world
war”, Carlos Crespo from Bolivia described the privatization of
water resources in Cochabamba and the resistance to it. Ursula Oswald
Spring, the former environment minister of Mexico, presented a statistically
documented analysis of inequality in food consumption “The surfeited
against the hungry”.
Think globally, act locally
The gist of the problem seems to lie in a patriarchal set-up of
the world, in which all strategic decision-making is in the hands
of men. Who heads the multinational corporations, national governments,
who has the power to decide, who has the information, who has the
money, the positions of authority, the wealth? I look for the solution
in promoting the feminine principle. For this reason in 1997, I
founded the NGO Agentura GAIA, whose main purpose is a search for
new ways of interpersonal communication in the field of environmental
protection, education and culture. Within the framework of this
mission, we develop the following concrete programs:
- “Green means life”, the purpose of which is the return of trees
to our towns and communities.
- “Women and the environment” emphasizing the feminine principle
in understanding the world.
- “Your purse or your life”, in which we search for a way out
of the worldwide environmental crisis.
These programs Agentura GAIA organizes are further articulated
into a series of projects one of which, ”Time is life”, I wish to
present. The aim of Agentura GAIA’s project "Time is life "
is to draw attention to the state of society in order to open a
dialogue, which should bring about the awareness of the need of
a more sensitive approach and harmonization of society by applying
the feminine principle and equality in social roles (simplifying
it means it would be good to have more women in politics, just as
in education it would be convenient to have more men teaching).
Why does Agentura GAIA want to work on a harmonious society? Because
fostering such a society is the only way to solve the environmental
crisis, our relations with the mother Earth, other living beings
on Earth, our children, parents, families, and among ourselves.
The instruments to implement our purpose are seen to lie in general
in incrementing education, meeting people, communicating our experiences,
personal creativity, developing and fostering independence in thinking
and behavior and women’s self-assurance.