Millennium Post

US gives India cue on gender equality

The Obama administration has been successful in putting together a government that has space for many ethnicities. Keeping his own multi-ethnic background in mind and a changing world in focus, Barack Obama has from the beginning tried to put together a government, that did not seem in its constitution and its concern, one which is white, male and Catholic. This has meant that many of his office bearers belong to ethnic backgrounds, and are also and most importantly, women.  The presence of unprecedented numbers of women in high and decision-making ranks in the Obama administration has come up for recent debates when a part of its national media expressed concern about the representation of women in the US government. The current government has responded by saying that it has made it a mandate that women be given higher and higher posts in the administration starting with of course Hilary Clinton, the outgoing secretary of state. It only grows more impressive after that. As White House Press Secretary Jay Carney has said, two of the three Deputy Chiefs of Staff are women, the White House Counsel is a woman, Secretary Janet Napolitano runs Homeland Security, Cabinet Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is a woman and of course the speaker, not to speak of Nancy Pelosi, the former speaker in the US house of representatives are women. Peloci’s appointment  was of course before Obama came to power in 2008 but her unprecedented accession to becoming the highest-ranking woman in US politics was indication enough that the world was changing. What the Obama administration did is to just pick up the cue.

These facts become important in the light of the amazing indiscretion and stupidity shown by a number of Indian politicians and other so called public figures in trying to undermine the increasingly visible, powerful and changing role of women in public life. Not that India has not had successful women office bearers. We have had a women president, prime minister and long serving chief ministers but that has not meant that the average Indian male is able to successfully negotiate the passing away of an overarching and all-pervading patriarchal power equation. The Indian government should take a cue from the US regime and other governments across the world and come across as an administration that recognises the importance of diversity and social equality in government positions. If the government is serious in its understanding of a changing social order, it should be the first one to show. Change is best appreciated when it comes from above and from the so called institutionalised practices. Like that of the US.
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