It is 2050. Over half of the world’s leading Decision-makers are now women, many of them with backgrounds in human rights advocacy, environmental sciences and peace-building. As historians tell it, the big shift to pluralist democracy came about once the International Community recognised that men on their own are no good at achieving peace after deadly conflicts. Throughout the last years of the 20th Century into the first decade of this century most wars broke out again within 10 years. The big shift came in 2020 with an international agreement that henceforth no international treaty or peace agreement was valid unless at least half the mediators, negotiators and signatories were women, and no election results for presidents, prime ministers or parliaments would be recognised unless at least 50% of candidates were women. This led to many imaginative forms of inclusiveness for other groups and to root-and-branch new ways of doing things.
Women insisted peace-building should no longer be left to power-group elites but through meaningful participation at village and community level upwards. Governments replaced Defence Ministries with Ministries for Peace and Human Security focused on freedom from fear and freedom from want. There have been border skirmishes but no major deadly conflict in the past decade.
Once all countries followed Norway’s lead that women must be at least 40% of all Boards, economic and financial policies shifted too. Communism and capitalism alike gradually gave way under the press of feminist economics. Women-led business corporations have become more human-friendly.
Women have led the new grass-roots approaches to use of the world’s resources – especially water and land, the root cause of many of the world’s most intractable conflicts. Another major shift came about with financially favourable terms for arms manufacturers to switch to energy conservation and other peaceful and productive technologies. Empowerment of women also resulted in the much-needed drop in numbers in the world population with their slogan – ‘every baby a wanted baby’. Following the rash of early 21st Century ‘Face-book’ revolutions, old-fashioned male-led hierarchical international organisations such as the EU, UN, World Bank etc. became obsolete, replaced by new channels and social communities for international interaction and communication. China’s women led their country to a uniquely Chinese version of pluralist democracy. America’s Latino, Black, White, Jewish, Muslim women and women from across other groups transformed national politics from plutocracy to a participatory pluralist democracy.
A big block to overcome were intolerant attitudes and the fanaticism of a generation of young men who grew up in the late 20th and early part of the 21st Century indoctrinated by religious leaders – the use of physical and psychological intimidation was hard to combat. This changed once women in large numbers became leaders of the world’s religions and once religions were excluded from political power (Pope Joan has decided to live in a modest cottage in Tuscany where she manages an organic farm part-time).
PS. Even the British Liberal Democrat party at last achieved a gender balance of women ministers and MPs, mainly as a result of a merger with the Green Party, following a year as partner in the Green-led Coalition Government - voted into power as a result of the truly proportional representation/single transferable vote system.
This article by Lesley Abdela was first published in OpenDemocracy.