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by wowmagazine

Any time is a great time to be alive, any time is a great time to create change, any time is a great time to make a difference. And it is time that we as individuals collectively take responsibility for the future we are creating as we go to polls in the coming month. We need to take our discussions beyond restaurant tables, chiya pasals and living rooms out into polling booths and act upon our right to do the right thing.

We talk a lot about instability: political, social and economic, we talk about the difficulties of doing business and earning livelihoods, we talk about inadequate government function and poor policies, we struggle with corruption, civil service delivery, gender justice and inclusion, but what is it that we can really do to make that transition to better outcomes when after 20 years and more, our issues remain the same.

Do we still want to battle poor infrastructure, minimal opportunities, corruption, lack of healthcare, lack of jobs, violence against women, discrimination based on caste; do we still want to struggle with inflation and inadequacies? The elections are an opportunity to vote people into government who can make a difference.

People who are honest, clear, wise and effective. We need to stop listening to rhetoric. If you cannot do anything when you are in the seat of authority and influence, whether you are a man or a woman, maybe you are not meant to own that position.

This election promises to bring change. There are good people contesting the elections and although I had hoped for more women candidates, what is encouraging is that there is a growing awareness and public participation in civic, politics and governance issues across the nation. Leadership transitions are often more challenging for women, and focusing exclusively on acquiring new skills isn’t sufficient; the learning must be accompanied by a growing sense of identity as a leader. This is difficult when we are still operating with models of leadership designed primarily by and for men.

Several of the new candidates are championing diversity, equity and inclusion in their agenda, some of whose work and ideas I have followed over the years. If more such progressive individuals ascend to significant leadership positions in government, we will be able to overcome barriers to female leadership, and there will be a paradigm shift towards more equal, inclusive, gender-neutral, effective and transformative environment in the country. Do use your vote with responsibility.

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