Democracy. It can be said that it is the upholding of equal rights in national life and the participation of the public in the formation and development of the country in order to achieve general welfare. So in general, a good democratic country is the implementation of political or government participation that comes from community participation in order to achieve a good national life collectively.

Women’s emancipation is a concept that, although familiar, is still a problem even until today. Emancipation of women can be said to be a process of detachment  from their positions and social status that has been determined by the community in a deliberate manner.

In a world which upholds patriarchy, women are seen as having a lower status than men. Men as the main holders of power and dominate in matters such as political roles, moral authority and social rights. Women are considered as unfit to be put in the same category with men. Viewed from a patriarchal point of view, the legal lifestyle also indirectly curbs women by forcefully making them to adhere to the social standards of how a woman should and should not be. This is not unfamiliar because our living arrangements up to now have not made it easy for women to be able to develop and advance in all fields of community life, especially in where men have always been the dominant figure.

This movement of women’s emancipation can also be attributed to the feminism movement which has attracted the attention of many people from the past. This feminism is a women’s movement which demands full equality between women and men. Due to the imbalance in the aspects of rights and position between women and men, there has been a lot of support from the female side in the issue of feminism and also an awareness of the importance of women’s emancipation.

 It is common for the public to consider that having a female figure as a leader is inappropriate. Women’s leadership, especially in political matters or positions, is still something that is often disputed. This happens because of the support of a low view of women in society, even though the potential between women and men in this matter is the same. This can be seen in the cases of significant female figures, such as Myanmar’s leading democratic figure who has been gaining worldwide attention recently—Aung San Suu Kyi.

Aung San Suu Kyi is known as one of the women who have inspired the world with the impact of her actions in Myanmar’s democratic movement. She was one of the pioneer figures in Myanmar’s democracy at the time. Suu Kyi is a major figure in Myanmar who fights for the democratic rights of the people of Myanmar without having to use any force to oppose Myanmar’s military government regime.

 Abraham Lincoln said, “Of the people, by the people, for the people.” So the question is: What is the role of women in upholding democracy? It can be said that the main and most important principle of democracy is freedom for each individual to act and choose. Democracy provides a voice for the public to express their opinions. In the frame of history, women are the most often ‘victims’ in many instances from the past. The oppression of the political economy from the existence of a regime will always have more backlash against women, so the importance of the role of women in fighting the regime and achieving democracy is to prevent this from happening. Women are always placed at the bottom of the social structure, so this should be the main reason why they are more interested in fighting a regime that will plunge them into social oppression.

The role of women in democracy can also be said as a form of struggle to obtain political rights, equality and equality. Democracy is a bridge for women to be able to free themselves from their social status positions. It could be said that democracy without women is impossible. As the constant social victim, the empowerment of women and the establishment of equal rights are crucial to the progression of democracy. The absence of women in political affairs will result in a ‘male democracy’ – a very biased and incomplete form of democracy. Therefore, women may need democracy, but democracy needs women.

Written By: Aisyah Daniswari
Photo: International Women’s Day Melbourne
Source: Democracy Chronicles, BBC News