Women representation in Indian politics

  • Increase in the representation of backward castes resulted in an escalation of demands for political representation from other excluded groups, notably women.
  • Changing the social composition of the legislature may have a minimal effect on the structure of party politics, policies and outcomes for the disadvantaged groups.
  • The space available to women within the political system has not been significant (though we had a woman PM for many years)
  • Contd…
  • From 1952 to 1999 over 1400 women have contested elections and over 365 have been elected to Parliament.
  • Proportion of women in Parliament – less than 10 %
  • Parties give low preference to women candidates, even though voters are not disinclined to support their candidacy.
  • Political parties often give tickets only to attract ‘women’s votes’ or appeal to ‘women’s constituency’.
  • Women’s Reservation Bill (WRB) pending despite strong pressure from women groups
  • Interestingly, one-third reservation for women in Local Bodies
  • Challenges for political representation in India’s diverse democracy… (1)
  • To ensure a link between representatives and those represented (pave the way for substantive democracy)
  • Backward caste mobilization has successfully challenged upper caste/class domination, the experience of the north Indian states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar
  • However, over-emphasis on descriptive representation could weaken the basis for political accountability.

With this also mention about the beginning of women liberalization in pre independence India. Women in politics idea were first initiated by liberal Indian men who received the western education and compared Indian scenario in its light. This led to help these learned few Indians raise a voice against the age old suffering women and was perhaps the first positive seed in the representation of women in India.. inspire of stances from the medieval period of Rani laxmibai (bravely lead her people against the British removing political instability in Jhansi), jodha bai (with her marriage helped to bring settlement between the rajputs and mougals) the real step towards women representation began by the socio religious reform movements that began in the early 19 century.

  • Raja ram mohan roy – helped bring law against sati, child marriage and widow remarriage
  • Vidyasagar- education for women, widow remarriage

Then later in 20th century reformist like Anne Beasant, Bal gangadhar Tilak, Gandhi made way for women to reach a representative platform.

Post independence with likes of Indira Gandhi, Sarojini naidu, Vijaylaxmi the stigma and stain of no women representation finally faded away.

At present women in the parliament have positively made their space and this has been possible due to the liberal policy and a national univocal attempt for women to be at shoulders with men.

With likes of Ms Sonia Gandhi, Ms Jayalaitha, Ms Vijayraje Sindhia, Ms Mamata banerjee, etc etc the women have definitely created a ever increasing activity centre for them in walks of social life especially in indian politics and have proved their merit.

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