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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

  • 11 August, 2022

  • 11 Min Read

WOMEN IN INDIAN POLITICS

WOMEN IN INDIAN POLITICS

“Performance of Women in Parliament” A Quantitative Study of Questions by Women Members in Lok Sabha (1999-2019) is a recent study that was published.

The author of this article is Sadia Hussain

Highlights:

Through a quantitative examination of the inquiries made by female lawmakers on the floor, the study highlights the performance of women in the Lok Sabha.

It asserts that they only serve as flimsy forms of representation in political arenas.

Access to power:

  • Over the past 20 years, India has not seen a single women's movement that questioned gender and patriarchal conventions.
  • To gain power, women have had to employ alternative strategies.
  • Women's political participation has benefited from their income and education.

Political awareness:

  • Studies indicate that more women have begun to form economic groupings, and their increased financial freedom has encouraged them to become more politically engaged.
  • The decreased gap in voter turnout between men and women is a positive sign toward gender inclusivity in the political sphere.

Comparative advantage: Women in politics

  • The general election of 2019 marked a turning point for women in politics.
  • For the first time since independence, when there were only 22 women in the 543-member Lok Sabha, 78 women were elected to the lower house of Parliament.
  • However, the author argues that this figure still does not accurately reflect the proportion of women in the nation.
  • Powerful women's performances during Question Time are noteworthy because it is a time when lawmakers can act without interference from their parties.
  • Study detractors assert that female lawmakers behave like "gungi gudiyas" or mute dolls during question periods in parliament.

Positive:

  • Although males participated in more debates and asked more questions, women have significantly increased their question-asking.

Evaluating the member questions side by side

  • Contrary to popular assumption, women politicians were more interested in the welfare of their families, their own health, their homes, their finances, their industries, and the railroads than in women's issues.
  • Male legislators were more likely than female peers to ask inquiries about issues affecting women.

Significance:

  • Although women are supposed to offer a feminine quality to public politics, by simply acting like men, they are shattering stereotypes.

Challenges

Politics as a male-dominated profession:

  • Women are frequently prevented from pursuing careers in politics on the argument that they are not 'feminine' enough.
  • Elections were frequently forced to field female candidates as "namesakes" for their husbands.

Infrastructure issues:

  • Young women encounter significant infrastructure issues when they want to enter politics.
  • This includes a lack of sanitary facilities and secure lodging while conducting fieldwork.
  • One of the biggest reasons women avoid running for office is the sexism and harassment they experience during campaigns.
  • Lack of safety is the additional factor stated.

The sexual division of labour:

  • A system in which all domestic work is either organized by or performed by the women of the household is known as the "sexual division of labour."
  • It implies that women devote far more time to caring for the home and children than do males.

Government initiative

The 2008 Women's Reservation Act (108th Amendment)

  • The proposed law will allocate 33% of the Lok Sabha's seats and all state legislative bodies to women.
  • In May 2008, the Rajya Sabha received the bill, which was then sent to a standing committee. It was approved by the House in 2010 and then forwarded to the Lok Sabha. The Bill, however, expired with the 15th Lok Sabha.

Gender-neutral terminology and practices:

  • The Rules of Procedure of the Lok Sabha were completely gender neutralized in 2014, thanks to the guidance of the Lok Sabha's then-President.

  • Since then, every Lok Sabha Committee Head has been referred to in all papers as a Chairperson rather than a Chairman.
  • This initiative is proof that amending legal documents to make them inclusive for all genders is an attainable goal if there is a will.
  • India is a signatory to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.
  • States are required under the convention to take the necessary steps to end discrimination against women in politics and public life, and in particular, to make sure that women are equally eligible to run for office in all public bodies.
  • They are entitled to take part in shaping how government policy is implemented.

Convention on Civil and Political Rights:

  • India is a signatory state to Article 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which is enforceable.
  • It states that "every citizen shall have the right and opportunity to vote and to be chosen at true periodic elections, without any of the distinctions mentioned in article 2 and without unjustifiable limits."

Way forward

  • The underrepresentation of women is merely a surface issue.
  • The issue of structural inequality, where women are marginalized on various levels, is what lies beneath.
  • The rise in political involvement is encouraging gender equality and inclusion in politics.
  • However, there is still a long way to go because of the socioeconomic and cultural factors that continue to socialize women to dislike politics and prevent them from pursuing it as a career.

Review on Political Empowerment in India: “2022 Global Gender Gap Index “

The WEF's Global Gender Gap Index measures the progression of gender parity across four important parameters, including:

  • Economic Participation and Opportunity,
  • Educational Attainment,
  • Health and Survival, and
  • Political Empowerment.

The Global Gender Gap Index's subindex "Political Empowerment" takes into account statistics like the proportion of women in parliament and ministerial positions, among others.

  • India will be ranked highest in this sub-index in 2022 out of all the sub-indices (48th out of 146).
  • India's rating on this metric has also declined since the previous year.
  • The bright side is that despite the drop, India still scored higher than the average score for this area globally.

Other nation performance:

  • Some of the top-scoring nations in this area have significantly better ratings.
  • For instance, Bangladesh is ranked ninth and Iceland is ranked first.

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Source: The Hindu


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