Monday, November 09, 2009

What is the Secret of Great Comedy?

Pat Leahy in yesterday's Sunday Business Post:

Former president Mary Robinson was expressing her disappointment last week about how few women are involved in politics at a senior level in this country.

"I am disappointed at the number of women in parliament in Ireland in both houses of the Oireachtas," the former president told Claire Byrne on the Breakfast Show on Newstalk.

Indeed. Of course, the situation isn’t helped by women who, having achieved high political office, then bugger off early to some other job, like . . . er, Mary Robinson.

The former president suggested that Ireland take inspiration from abroad. "When you think of Rwanda as having 56 per cent women in the parliament, the highest in the world now, half the cabinet and the chief of police, etc, we don’t have a high proportion of women in our defence forces or in our police." Yup. Things are just great in Rwanda.

Philip Gourevitch in yesterday's Observer Magazine:

On the 15th anniversary of the genocide, Rwanda is one of the safest countries in Africa. Since 1994, per-capita GDP has nearly tripled, even as the population has increased by almost 25%, to more than 10 million. There is national health insurance and a steadily improving education system. Tourism is a boom industry. In Kigali, the capital, broom-wielding women in frocks and gloves sweep the streets at dawn. Plastic bags are outlawed. Broadband and mobile phones are widespread. Traffic police enforce speed limits and the mandatory use of seat belts and motorbike helmets. Rwanda's is the only government on earth in which the majority of parliamentarians are women. Soldiers in uniform are almost nowhere to be seen.

Not that they could teach us anything, eh, Pat?

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