By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Deputy Chief Reporter
FORMER official opposition leader Loretta Butler-Turner has insisted that regardless of what female politicians bring to the table they aren’t respected by men who have dominated the political arena.
In a rare public appearance as a guest on a television show where she discussed the state of politics in the country, Mrs Butler Turner further pinpointed how political parties may not encourage the inclusion of female candidates.
Asked if women are respected at the Cabinet level, the former minister said: “No, absolutely not.
“Well, it’s very clear that you know if you have someone who is able to articulate, who is able to process, who is able to start to give a vision, the first thing that people look at is that a man or is that a woman? Well, if it is a woman then she needs to go and sit down.
“If it’s a man whether he can articulate or not we rather have him than her,” the former Long Island MP said Monday night as a guest on Beyond the Headlines with host Clint Watson.
It is something that she’s both experienced and seen happen to other women.
While she misses front-line politics, Mrs Butler-Turner said she does not see herself re-entering the political arena.
However, the former State Social Services Minister said she’d like to carry on in a capacity of mentorship and educating prospective women politicians.
From her view, seeing increased female presence came down to making politics attractive to women and them receiving the same treatment is their male counterparts.
“We have more than 50 percent women that make up our general population and we have less than 10 percent representation in Parliament and even less than that around the Cabinet table.
“…There is no direct correlation between our population and representation in Parliament and even less so around the Cabinet table.”
“You can legislate it but at the end of the day you know you just don’t want to have women there just to make up numbers so a lot of countries just shy away from quotas,” Mrs Butler-Turner also said when asked her views on whether legislating the issue would improve the number of women in politics.
“I think that what you really need to do once again is to make it approachable for women. The first thing that your have to understand is that most of the financial backing in political parties they give it to men and that is essentially what happens.
“I remember my very last campaign as an FNM, I did not receive one penny and that was under the Ingraham administration, but of course you know you got the collateral material, but not one penny.”