Women Participation in Politics
- Posted By
Polity & Governance
20th Jun, 2022
While numerous political advancements have occurred throughout the world in recent decades, the most important influence has to be on women’s involvement and representation in political roles.
- In India, historically women are not given primacy in the decision-making process as they face institutional, systemic exclusion in the decision-making process.
- Political under-representation is one of the important factors for the poor developmental outcomes of women.
- Initiatives for women inclusion in politics should be started from early age so that girls can incorporate political enthusiasm in them.
Set in this context, here an effort has been made to analyse the extent of political inclusiveness of women in governance.
The current scenario
Women constitute almost half of the world population. Globally, they constitute 49.6 per cent of the total population as against 50.6 per cent of men. Not just the percentage but our country has a good sex-ratio of 1020 girls for 1000 boys.
- With such a population of females, there contribution towards politics is a concern.
- In a country with deplorable levels of women in the workforce, and social-cultural norms that heavily police women’s mobility and participation in public life, getting involved in electoral politics is a far-fetched dream for most women.
- Politics is essentially a public act, and research shows that women’s ability to negotiate a space independent of the household is an important factor in deciding if or not they will be politically active.
- In the recent polls, women made up 8 per centof all candidates in Assam and 11 per cent in the other four states.
- Roughly, one in every 10 individuals who contested the election was a woman.
ECI on women’s representation in Politics
- As per the report of the Election Commission of India, women represent 10.5 per cent of the total members of the Parliament.
- The plight of women in the state assemblies is even worse, where they nearly account for 9 per cent of the leaders.
- Women’s representation in the Lok Sabha has not even grown by 10 per cent in the last 75 years of independence.
- Women workers abound in India’s main political parties, but they are often marginalised and refused a party ticket to run in elections.
- Global Gender Gap Report 2020:
- According to Global Gender Gap Report 2020, India ranks 112th in educational attainment out of 153 countries which reveals a stark involvement of education as a factor that determines women’s participation in politics.
- Women’s social mobility is influenced by their education.
What hinders the inclusion of women in politics?
There are several factors responsible for the poor representation of women in Indian politics such as
- Gender stereotypes
- lack of political network
- financial strains
- unavailability of resources
- lack of political education amongst women in the country
Socio Cultural Factor
- In countries like India Women are considered as the mothers and housewife and to participate in election are restricted due to patriarchal mind-set of Indian society.
- In India women are considered as a weak and they are restricted only to boundary of house.
- Exclusion of women from Religious institution and religious leadership have impacted negatively on women’s status and restrict them to take opportunity to participate in politics and public life.
- Lack of economic resources is the biggest obstacle to prevent to participate in politics and public life.
- Due to family responsibility women spend far more time in home than men so lesser time to participate in politics and public life.
What measures are required?
- Gender Equality: Women’s should have equal rights with men in the political, social, economic and cultural spheres. Even though constitution guarantees women equal right in all spheres socio-cultural factors need to be adapted to modern ethos of equality. Institutions of Governance like courts, police, administrative bodies etc. should focus on gender equality.
- Affirmative Action: Action taken by the government by reserving certain percentage of seats at state legislature and parliament for women.
- Women Empowerment: To provide education and equal health access in all spheres of life can empower women to participate in politics and public sphere. Both education and health are important for women to participate in Central, state and Panchayat election and other public field.
- Enforcing property rights: Despite legal rights for women to inherit paternal property women are denied property rights and thus they lack economic resources. There is need to reinforce with in society and women about their right to property.
- Social awareness campaigns: Long held prejudices against women need to be dismantled through concerted social campaigns with help of educational institutions, media, religious leaders, celebrities, political leaders etc.
How education is related to women’s participation in politics?
- Due to lack of political education and education in general, women fail to enter politics and gender equality remains a distant dream in India.
- Where women are more educated and empowered, economies are more productive and strong.
- India has a low rate of girl-child education and is still in the grips of patriarchy which results from traditionally assigned roles to women.
- However, this, in turn, has led to more dire issues where we are facing a lack of representation in policies and problems of inclusion as an absence of education makes women ignorant of these aspects and become a part of the same vicious circle.
- The government did make efforts to ensure women participation in politics from the ground level by promoting women education by:
- “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” and;
- Through the constitutional amendments such as reservation for women in Panchayati Raj Institutions (Article 243D of the Constitution ensures participation of women by mandating not less than one-third reservation for women);
- proposal of the Women Reservation Bill, 2008 which reserves one-third of all seats in the Lok Sabha, and in all state legislative assemblies for women.
- Inspired by the TV series, Balika Vadhu, the Kunariya village of Kutch district in Gujarat has come out with a unique idea of holding Balika Panchayat. The first-ever elections of this Balika Panchayat were successfully held recently.
- This Panchayat will be run by the girls and for the girls.
- The main aim of this initiative is to develop leadership qualities in the girls for future Panchayat polls.
- Young females aged between 10 to 21 years contested elections for this unique Panchayat which will take up issues pertaining to adolescent girls and women in the village.
- The Sarpanch of this progressive village also encouraged this and assured separate sitting arrangements for these girls and they will be given to use the budget of gender sensitivity.
Special Initiatives for Women
- National Commission for Women: In 1992, the Government set-up this statutory body with a specific mandate to study and monitor all matters relating to the constitutional and legal safeguards provided for women, review the existing legislation to suggest amendments wherever necessary, etc.
- The National Plan of Action for the Girl Child (1991-2000): The plan of Action is to ensure survival, protection and development of the girl child with the ultimate objective of building up a better future for the girl child.
- National Policy for the Empowerment of Women, 2001: The Department of Women & Child Development in the Ministry of Human Resource Development has prepared a “National Policy for the Empowerment of Women” in the year 2001. The goal of this policy is to bring about the advancement, development and empowerment of women.
Women participation has suffered for ages and looking at the grave circumstances we are in, these raw steps are nugatory; therefore, there is an urgent need for policies that can ensure better representation of women in the country such as more strict policies and implementation of girl-child education in the country.