A woman at the helm in Thailand

Published: September 1, 2011
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PHOTO: REUTERS

A business woman becoming a politician? No less a prime minister? Whoever heard of such a thing!

Thailand’s 2011 elections brought interesting results as Yingluck Shinawatra (former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s sister) stepped up as the next prime minister, the first woman prime minister, in fact, to grace Thailand’s political stage. And not surprisingly, most women are very supportive of what they hope will be a positive change. Most people were of the opinion that the men of the country had been given enough chances to run the country but had failed to solve most problems. Thailand had had enough. It was time for stability. It was time for a woman to take over. And take over she did, with much gusto and enthusiasm to bring about a change for the better.

Despite some people’s apprehension regarding her policies, it is no doubt too early to pass a judgement.  So what lessons can we learn from Thailand’s current political scenario? I wouldn’t want to list the failures of our present (and our past) government for obvious lack of space. However, a key point to note is that the women of the country need to be given a chance to step up and be more politically active.

And by giving a chance, I am not implying that we talk about what bag the potential candidate is carrying and how expensive it is. Nor do we need to only have politicians who look good in photographs. Needless to say that neither of the above should be an obstacle to becoming a politician. But the fact is that we need to have women who have the potential to make changes and run the country in a better way, regardless of what background they come from. If the Thais can give a businesswoman a chance to prove herself, then surely we don’t need to stick to politicians who more or less belong to the same family.

While I doubt a Yingluck stepping up in Pakistan in the near future, we can get there someday if we start making changes now. Otherwise, this country is doomed to be run by politicians who work only to ensure that their governments are there to stay.

Sumaiyya Lakhani

Sumaiya Lakhani

A sub editor for the Sunday pages of The Express Tribune.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.