In light of Women’s History Month I found myself pondering on women’s position in politics back home. Home is the Seychelles Islands, located off the East coast of Africa and just south of the Equator. Seychelles is mostly known as a tourist destination and it seems like half a world away. So what would this island gal know about women and politics or gender equality? Surely gender disparity is present everywhere, but what about Seychelles? Many might think the island lifestyle has meant a lackluster performance of women in politics. Rather, Seychelles currently ranks 5th in the world in relation to gender parity in national legislatures. This represents substantial steps for women in politics, more so when compared to the United States where women have actually lost ground in politics, making the US rank 74th worldwide for women’s political representation.
Living in an island state also presented its challenges. The cost of living is quite high as we have to import almost everything. There were times where we had to scour the whole island for the basic necessities! Instead of shopping malls and holiday resorts, I grew up with the sun, sand and the sea! Despite the insulated environment I am proud of my island heritage. I have come to appreciate what I grew up with and took for granted such as free healthcare, free education, and a secure pension – the very same issues that are currently on the forefront of politics in the US.
However, as we pay homage to the groundbreakers during Women’s History Month, let this be a call to all women that change is possible. Let us learn from these exceptional leaders in the same way countries can learn from each other. My country has shown women can be as successful and as accomplished as their male counterparts and, who knows, maybe a woman president may not be too far off in the future for this island state!
About Tania: Tania is originally from the Seychelles and she is currently living in Denver. She is obtaining a Master of Arts from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver and interns for The White House Project.