Women in Politics
This article deals with ‘Women in Politics .’ This is part of our series on ‘Society’, which is an important pillar of the GS-1 syllabus. For more articles, you can click here.
Women have a very low status in the political scenario of the country. For example, the number of women in Parliament has never crossed the 20% mark till now.
Historically, women were not considered fit for politics earlier. According to philosophers like Kant, women have the inability to control emotions & thus, the inability to be impartial & rational requires their exclusion from politics.
Steps taken to improve women representation in politics
- 73rd & 74th Constitutional Amendments to the constitution provide the reservation of 1/3rd of seats for women in Panchayati Raj Institutions.
- 108th Constitutional Amendment Bill was introduced in the Parliament to provide 1/3rd reservation for women in Lok Sabha
- 110th Constitutional Amendment Bill was introduced in the Parliament to reserve 50% of seats for women in Local Bodies
- Pam Rajput Committee recommended 50% reservation of seats for women at all political levels.
Data on Women Representation in Politics
- 17th) Lok Sabha has 14.6% women representatives.
- Rajya Sabha has 11% women representatives.
- State Legislatures have just 9% women representation (some states like Nagaland have 0% women representation).
Case Study of Bhakti Sharma
- Bhakti Sharma, sarpanch of Barkhedi Abdulla village, was just 25 years old when she left her job with an attractive package and post-graduate degree in political science to become sarpanch of her village.
- She gives up her two months’ salary to each family where a girl child is born in the village.
- In 2015, she was chosen as one of the 100 most popular women in the country.
Examples of Women in Indian Politics
Problems in the Reservation approach
- One-size-fits-all policies designed in New Delhi backfire in states like Nagaland.
- It would perpetuate the unequal status of women since their merit will always be questioned.
- The right to choice of voters will be restricted as they will have limited choice.
- Sarpanch Pati Syndrome: In many places, the concept of Sarpanch Pati has emerged where the woman is just the nominal sarpanch, whereas her husband is the real decision-making authority.
- Reservation does not lead to real empowerment as seats are contested by women from wealthy families and business and political families.
Watch this video to know more about the phenomenon of Sarpanch Pati
Points in favour of reservation
- Due to reservations in Panchayati Raj Institutions, a positive impact on governance is visible where women head them. Women representatives have contributed immensely in overcoming social taboos and constraints like removing ghunghat, sitting at the same height as men on chairs etc.
- Though it begins with token equality that caused acute discomfort and even confrontation, women, especially Dalit women, have been able to push boundaries and create space in the decision-making sphere across all sectors.
- The acts made by women are more gender-sensitive and are able to include female perspectives in them.