Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Women yet to find their rightful place in legislature

Even after so many decades of democracy in the country, women in politics still seem to have not got their fair share of governance. The most recent assembly polls in four states have yet again reasserted the domination of men in our political landscape.

While only three out of the 69 women who contested for the 70 seats in Delhi won in their constituencies (all from Aam Aadmi Party), the situation is not very different in Madhya Pradesh (25 out of 100 women candidates for 230 assembly seats), Rajasthan and Chattishgarh (only seven women MLAs each).

In TN where the chief minister is a woman, only 18 women (including Yercaud MLA Saroja) are present in the state 234-member strong state legislative assembly. The previous legislative assembly had a slightly better ratio with 22 women in the house.

Political analysts point out that even in this day and age, it is extremely difficult for women to climb the political ladder in our male-dominated society. “Basically, we live in a male-chauvinistic world and it is extremely difficult for women to climb the political ladder and take their fair share of seats,” says noted political analyst and writer Gnani.
He points out the women should be given equal representation in politics and given 50% of the seats.

A recent analysis on statistics of women members of parliament conducted by the Inter-Parlimanetary Union (IPU) revealed that women have a poor representation of just 11% in India’s Lok Sabha and just 10.6% in the Rajya Sabha. The Womens Reservation Bill which if implemented guarantees women 33% of the seats in the Parliament and state assemblies, has been hanging in the balance for over a decade after facing stiff opposition from various quarters.

Women’s rights activists point out that unless the reservation bill is made into an act, it is extremely difficult for women to get their fair share. They claim that while it has become a reality at the panchayat level, it still remains a dream at the higher level as men are afraid of losing their control.

“In the beginning, we will see several dummy candidates such as wives standing on behalf of husbands and daughters stepping in for fathers. But, over time women will emerge independent and grab their rights,” says Gnani.

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