A Career in Politics

"Do I start a career in politics or not?"

A successful and well known francophone business lady recently sent a newsletter to her subscribers that started with "Est-ce que je me lance ou non en politique ?" 

She then goes on and says: "Admit that government and politics is not a subject we often discuss between women".

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She used the informal "tu" instead of the formal "vous" which I personally find improper, but this is me being fussy. Then again, when talking to more than one person, the "vous" should be used.

Whatever the language and the career, especially a career in politics, the ability to communicate is often if not always a requisite. Good communication skills such as clarity, concision and respect are part of being a good leader.

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That said, I agree with her when she says that “women politics is not a subject we often discuss between women”. 

We did discuss politics questions at l’ENAP, l’École nationale d’administration publique where I spent a few years and earned a Master Degree in Public Administration, but it was always between men and women.

The presence of interesting and dedicated people from different parts of the world certainly enlightened some of the unavoidable “travaux d’équipe”.

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Do You Like Politics...

The lady then goes on and says that “... political careers do not interest women because government and politics don't look like us”, A logic that, to me, sounds a lot like the chicken and egg dilemma. Which came first?

What sounds a lot like me though is that, nowadays most men and most women approach problems with similar goals, but not necessarily with the same evaluating facts and considerations.

Women feel and act more like men, while the actions and sensibilities of men are now converging with women. There's no doubt in my mind that men's and women's roles are less strictly defined and a lot more egalitarian.

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I agree that we need women's viewpoints to contribute, innovate and improve our political systems and solve our social problems, but we also need men's viewpoints. We need all the evaluating facts and considerations of both genders to build truth in politics. 

Then she writes "To be a woman in a man's world is an opportunity to be different and to stand out."

Personally I’ve never been comfortable with standing out or being different. I don’t need to be a star, a number one, at the top, popular or famous. If this is part of our political culture and, unfortunately it often is, I'm out because I ain't got it. I need to be successful but I don't need to be famous.

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A Career in Politics Election

Our world is changing, women are more competitive, more aware of their capabilities and  "... politics jobs is now a world filled with many interesting opportunities for women politics ...".

I couldn't agree more. Recognising history as the source of our gender differences has nothing to do with agreeing and accepting them. The strict gender divisions of the past are now giving way to all kinds of equal opportunities for men and for women. 

"... so yes it is now a good idea for women to get into politics ...". Again I agree but only the women who have the proper qualifications, who clearly know what they want to accomplish and who see and understand the critical differences between managers who manage work and leaders who lead people.

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" ... but it doesn't mean it's going to be easy" What is not going to be easy?

Having innate talents, unique skills and proper values?

Winning an election or having the appropriate education, experience, potential, knowledge, qualifications, social skills, determination and integrity, and being as efficient and as effective as possible?

Being familiar with political theories, understanding our political system and providing and administering appropriate public services financed by a reasonable taxation and managed in an efficient and economic way?

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Government and Politics

My “beef” is not about the participation of women in politics, my beef is about equal opportunities, or lack thereof. Equal opportunities for high-level leaders with the right prerequisites such as education, knowledge and integrity.

On one side, elected officials who stick to their words and who have vision, commitment and ethics, on the other, ignorant officials elected by ignorant voters and, in the middle, those that are neither competent or incompetent.

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"Do I start a career in politics or not?" the lady asked.

It's not for me to say but, as a citizen I'll certainly vote for the leader, man or woman who will logically, carefully and skilfully represent us people and who will take my city, my province or my country towards a bigger picture with precise and longer term results and impact.

Political Definitions

The following is an alphabetical list of an equal number of traits that, according to some researchers are prevalent in powerful men and women. Seven of the following traits are prevalent in powerful men and seven others are prevalent in powerful women.

See if you can identify which are male and which are female traits that may or may not lead some of our competent leaders to a promising career in politics.

  • Adaptability
  • Assurance
  • Confidence
  • Courage
  • Flexibility
  • Gentleness
  • Grace
  • Loyalty
  • Passion
  • Perseverance
  • Resilience
  • Self-Respect
  • Strength
  • Tenacity
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Political Terms

And the answers are....

  • EcargM
  • EcnarevesrepW
  • EcnarussaM
  • EcnedifnocM
  • EcneiliserW
  • EgaruocM
  • HtgnertsW
  • NoissapW
  • SseneltnegM
  • TcepserflesM
  • YticanetW
  • YtilibatpadaW
  • YtilibixelfM
  • YtlayolW

What's Your Beef? - Qu'est-ce qui vous achale ?

A Career in Politics by Rachel Louise Barry