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Feminists Rigging the Elections
November 18, 2003
by Carey Roberts

Before the collapse of the Soviet empire, party officials would handpick the candidates for office. Since all the candidates were members of the Communist party, the outcome of the election was never in doubt.

This way, everyone was happy. The Communist party could maintain its grip on the workings of government. And the Soviet citizens could believe that they had participated in an open and free election.

But when the Soviet Union imploded in 1991, the perverse notion of rigging the elections did not go away. Because just four years later, the Beijing Women's Conference approved a quota policy that women should constitute a minimum of 30% of elected officials.

Of course, radical feminists prefered to not use the "Q" word, so they used Orwellian euphemisms like "promoting women's participation in the democratic processes" and "assuring that women's voices are heard."

So now, with a wink and a nod from their United Nations sponsors, feminists around the world are pushing hard for election quotas. Their complaint: women represent only 14% of national elected officials.

In some countries, quotas have been installed by individual political parties. For example in Sweden, the Social Democratic Party began to require that its slate of candidates reflect a 50-50 gender balance.

In France, a constitutional amendment was approved in 2000 requiring that 50% of persons nominated by each party be female. In Argentina, 30% of candidates on the slate are required by law to be female.

But gender feminists still were not placated, because this strategy still allows the electorate to vote for the person believed to be most qualified -- 50% female candidates does not necessarily translate into 50% female elected officials.

For example in France, after the 2002 National Assembly elections, women held only 12% of the national seats, even with the constitutional requirement for half female candidates.

And in Islamic countries, male and female voters routinely give the nod to male candidates over their female rivals.

So in true socialist style, feminists now want to require that a set number of seats be reserved exclusively for women. In India, 33% of national positions must now be filled by women, regardless of the candidates' qualifications or voter preference. In Tanzania, the female quota is 20%. In Kosovo, it's 28%. In Pakistan, 33% of seats must be filled by women.

But the problem with election quotas is they rig the election to achieve a pre-determined outcome. They represent the very antithesis of democracy. As the corrupt politician Boss Tweed once put it, "I don't care who does the electing just so long as I do the nominating."

There are many good reasons why women do not represent half of all elected officials. All too often, female politicians fall prey to feminist groupthink. And according to a recent Time magazine article, gender quotas are meeting with growing resistance.

In Denmark, several parties had embraced 40% quotas in the 1980s. But later, female politicians objected to the rule, saying it was unnecessary. In 1996 the maternalistic quota was dropped.

Two years ago, East Timor, a neighbor of Indonesia, approved a new election law. Despite heavy pressure from feminists around the world, the law rejected a provision that would have required 30% female quotas.

Maybe the feminist-socialists should take heed of the time-honored truth that democratic government should be "of the people, by the people, and for the people."

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