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What Kamla has to deal with

It has been a long and difficult struggle to get women to enter politics at the higher levels. What women are afraid of is precisely what has been happening to Kamla Persad-Bissessar. If you are a female political leader, it is likely that men and women will wade into your personal life to publicly attack you.

Members of her own party pulled out personal "files" on her, casually airing the mauvais-langue in public. How she was able to bring these men around to their current attitudes of undying loyalty to her is a marvel.

Then the baton was passed to the opposing party which has made a fine art of stripping down the woman politician to her personal self and family network:

• Objections to her clothes, her shoes, her singing, her dancing, her acts of religious ritual.

• Suggestions that her niece somehow staged an incident of carjacking in which this young girl was reported to be the victim.

• More and more members of Kamla's family now seemingly coming under a net of espionage.

Just what women fear — that political power and high visibility would mean their personal lives being scrutinised with a special viciousness. That their families would also suffer from this malicious prying.

Sisters, do not be deterred from getting involved. When we have enough women in there, women with the consciousness to allow them to collaborate across parties on issues which affect them equally, then we can better fight this particular form of discrimination against women.

Merle Hodge

St Augustine

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