Rama cynically plays the gender card with the female-dominated cabinet
The Prime Minister has continued to show that he wanted to keep in his close circle “yes-men” and “yes-women” who never oppose him, on anything. Thus, in parliament and in government, it recruits women from its close network.
Despite the popular decision to have a majority of women in government (in visible power), his close entourage is dominated by men (the hidden power and decision-makers).
Women appointed as ministers by Rama demonstrate a sense of self-confidence and rights as they rise through the ranks. They seize leadership positions and opportunities as they arise, often discouraging other women who hope for a more meritocratic system from the prime minister.
Are they effective? Hard to say. They do not particularly outperform their male colleagues in their political or professional performance. And, in the sphere of influence, they seem to be falling behind. It is men who acquire and maintain the strongest influence on the PM.
Most of the male ministers sacked by Rama remain relevant and influential in politics. Women who experience the same political fate have not had the same luck. After being sacked, these women ex-ministers or senior officials usually have to return to their professional or academic life.
Based on past experience, the new women in the current government may well meet the same fate.
At this stage, the government will have to make some tough decisions. And to lower the pressure, Rama needs women. Why? He demonstrated his conviction that women are more risk-averse in politics than men. Therefore, he will not face any risk from non-risk takers. Rama will ask women to do their job properly. And they will do it conscientiously! They’ll sign anything. They won’t talk.
How can we assume this? Some 11 of the 12 ministers are part of the political elite as Rama’s personal investment. He recounted his joy in hearing them speak in the meetings as the spark that made him invite them into the cabinet.
But five of them had no previous political experience. Their first terms in politics were ministerial roles, skipping every step and every opportunity thanks to their scout and personal manager, Rama, who knows he holds their presence and advance in politics in his hands.
Rama would nominate any candidate or minister if it gives him great coverage and good public relations. Likewise, he will reject them all once they cease to be useful in his image.
So, is Rama a champion of the genre? It is doubtful. Will his government succeed? He says yes, and he’ll try all he can to make us believe it, using all the gender talk if necessary.
But the essence has not changed. Rama uses women. They’re eye-catching, visible, and bright lifeboats that might turn out to be decorative after all.
Edlira Gjoni is a communication professional from Albania. She holds a Masters and a Doctorate in Communication from the Universities of Tirana and Malmo (Sweden). Gjoni actively contributes to the international media as a political and media analyst, with personal and professional experience in Albanian and in the Western Balkan countries.