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Women’s Representation in Politics

Why there is a demand to increase women’s representation in politics?

1. To ensure physical presence of women in the political arena.

2. To influence a change in the dominant political discourse rife with opportunism, sexism and, hyper-masculinity.

What is wrong with politics today?

1. Lack of ethical stands, commitment, and the guilt.

2. Parties end up looking at their members as employees on a payroll, whose job is to market the party’s brand and image.

3. Such members could, not be considered politicians because they are not expected to have any deep connect with people or even with the party’s core beliefs and ideology.

4. This also makes a switch between parties normal as it is in a corporate culture.

5. Easy acceptance of the corrupt and misogynistic practices of politics.

How is the reservation of women crucial in politics?

1. In the last Parliament, only 11% were women, with only one-woman representative for more than 9 million women.

2. Reservation is gaining significance as the candidature of women by political parties remains limited.

3. Most political parties neglect the women workers who work closely with communities and instead choose candidates on other bases of electability.

4. Parties tend to bank on celebrity status and “star value” of women candidates or their dynastic links.

5. Even if women get tickets, the odds are heavily weighed against them in elections, as they face a hostile, crude, and dominating male cadre, are caricatured and minutely scrutinized, or are sexualized and glamorized.

Which problems do women face in politics?

1. Even when women do get elected and gain political power, this power may not necessarily translate in their substantive participation in politics.

2. This is quite evident in the fact that even parties headed by women leaders are not able to invert the entrenched misogyny.

Where is the way ahead?

1. Increased representation of women at the local level of governance has brought about a change in the agendas and approach towards political work.

2. They must attempt to alter the dynamics of power in politics.

3. The number of women voters has been increasing.

4. There is need for representatives who can raise and articulate their precise demands and create spaces for growth of a new political culture and groups.

5. These representatives, for instance, can raise issues like the declining workforce participation rate of women and the two crore missing women in the electoral rolls, as these issues have a direct impact on women’s representation in politics.

6. They need to broaden the understanding of women’s issues.

7. The need of the hour is a belief and the practice of values of democracy and feminism, and the posing of questions to forces that spread aggressive masculinity and militancy.

8. To be truly representative, the voices of women from different constituencies and backgrounds are needed, as they make space for a different mode of politics and new sensibilities.