Women can be down like animals- in Mauritian elections

Date: June 30, 2010
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During the May 2010, election in Mauritius an alert was raised on the disturbing language and imagery used by the leader of the opposing coalition, Mr Paul Berenger: “Ramgoolam envoie des femmes a l’abbatoir” translated as “Ramgoolam sending women to be put down like animals”, when referring to his opponent, the leader of the ruling party and Prime Minister’s, decision to nominate 13 female candidates in constituencies where the oppossing coalition was strong. The top image chosen shows women passively listening and waiting like a herd. The contrast between the two images was clear. The leader of the opposition was shown addressing an audience of mainly men (with only an estimated 9 women present out of a crowd of a 100 people).

“MISES EN JAMBES!” translated as “WARM UP!” suggests that this was only a prelude to what may lie ahead. The choice of language and supporting images used blatantly portrays women in a stereotypical fashion as victims, cannon fodder and pawns in the political games being played out between two male opponents. The display of such prejudice towards women expressed by the leader of the opposition is a shameless, especially given the fact that women in Mauritius represent more than 50% of the voting population. The source and reporter of this article are both male and no women were asked to feedback or comment on this article before publishing the story.

Media Watch Organisation-GEMSA, together with several other members of Civil Society Organisations, endorsed a Press Release sent on the 22nd April, following a workshop organised by Gender Links on “Gender, Media and Elections”. The Press Release (in accompanying attachment) was addressed to members of political parties and requested, that they stopped using vulgar language and terms that objectified women during their campaign.



Download : Mauritian artilce on election alert in May 2010

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