From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Nothing Much
Mains level : Women's Representation in Politics
National parties have fielded very less percentage of women in Lok Sabha elections.
Situation of national Parties
- Outburst of women in politics shows, women are tiring of the power differential in the national parties — with ample reason.
- Neither the BJP nor the Congress has done more than talk about women’s political empowerment.
- In the current elections to the Lok Sabha, they have fielded 12 per cent and 13.7 per cent of women candidates, respectively.
- That is far less than the commitments by two “regional” parties — Trinamool Congress has fielded 40 per cent women candidates, while BJD has fielded 33 per cent.
Questions need to be raised
- The question to be asked of both the BJP and the Congress is: How do they claim to be “national” parties if they do not attempt to adequately represent the political aspirations of 50 per cent of the country’s people?
- The question of representation is also inevitably tied to equity.
- When a patriarchal culture and society confines a majority of women to subordinate social and economic roles, politics must find a way of punching holes into the walls — and let some air in.
- That is not to say that parties should be blind to the calculus of competing interests that determine elections, but they must also ask themselves why they have so far made little space for women’s ambitions.
- As women rightfully complained, dynasty cannot be the only factor in choosing women candidates.
- Several social and political firestorms have shown — whether it is the debate over triple talaq, or the allegations of sexual assault against minister, or the agitation for women’s entry to Sabarimala — that Indian women are forcefully renegotiating the terms of their social contract, even if they are not always in a position of strength.
- But for these contestations to bring in substantial and far-reaching change, political power is essential.
- Not just that, to bring in a fresh perspective on lawmaking, there is no better prescription than an infusion of new talent — of people from various gendered, caste and class positions.
Politics is, of course, a balancing act between the demands of pragmatism and idealism. But in this case, national parties have brazenly and consistently chosen to ditch equality for realpolitik. As more voices speak up, they must realise that the time’s up for patriarchal condescension.