Women have never made up more than 15% of the world’s prime ministers and presidents, and, despite hiring ratios and gender equity policies becoming commonplace in the workforce, only 28 women worldwide are leading a country. So what is the impact of having a woman president on the legislation passed in a nation? Does it improve the lives of fellow women? And what is a ‘women’s issue’ exactly anyway?
Applying the case studies of four women presidents in South and Southeast Asia, award-winning scholar Dr Ramona Vijeyarasa examines the influence that having a woman leader can have on enacting legislative change in a nation, finding that laws may be enacted at a faster pace when women lead, particularly on issues like gender-based violence. The book also debunks the narrow idea of ‘women’s issues’ or ‘women’s interests’ and calls for a gender assessment on issues as diverse as democracy, development, peace & conflict, anti-corruption, industrial relations and taxation. The Woman President provides a scientific perspective on the importance of gender representation in leadership, with far-reaching applications to nations beyond those featured.
Dr Ramona Vijeyarasa joined Per Capita’s Emma Dawson to chat about her recent book, The Woman President. This webinar was recorded on 28 July, 2022.
Dr Ramona Vijeyarasa is the Chief Investigator behind the Gender Legislative Index, a tool designed to promote the enactment of legislation that works more effectively to improve women’s lives. Her work combines law, engineering and data science to reinvigorate decades-long debates about the law’s role in addressing gender inequality. Ramona is a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Law and the Juris Doctor Program Head at the University of Technology Sydney. She has been honoured for her pioneering work in artificial intelligence research by Women in AI, winning the Women in AI (Law) Award, and coming 2nd Runner-up for Women in AI Innovator of the Year. She is also editor of International Women’s Rights Law and Gender Equality: Making the law work for women (2021) and author of Sex, Slavery and the Trafficked Women: Myths and Misconceptions about Trafficking and its Victims (2015).