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. Women in Politics |

. Women in Politics

Context:

∙ Recently, the Women’s Reservation Bill was passed in the Parliament of India. 

Status of Women in Indian Politics

∙ Representation: Despite constitutional guarantees of equality, women remain underrepresented in Indian politics. As of 2023, they hold only 14.3% of Lok Sabha (lower house) and 11.8% of Rajya Sabha (upper house) seats.

∙ State level: Representation is even lower in state assemblies, averaging around 8%.

∙ Local governance: Although 33% of seats in Panchayats (rural local bodies) are reserved for women, their effective participation and leadership remain concerns.

Challenges

∙ Socio-cultural barriers: Patriarchal societal norms and discriminatory attitudes restrict women’s entry and advancement in politics.

∙ Economic constraints: Financial limitations hinder women’s ability to contest elections and participate effectively.

∙ Lack of access to resources: Political networks, funding, and campaign support are often skewed towards men.

∙ Violence and harassment: Women face physical and verbal abuse, online trolling, and intimidation, creating a hostile environment.

∙ Political party structures: Lack of internal party support and gender-sensitive policies within parties hinder women’s rise.

Measures

∙ Reservations: Increased reservation of seats in legislatures and local bodies can provide a crucial initial boost to women’s representation.

∙ Financial support: Government funding schemes and subsidies can address economic barriers faced by women candidates.

∙ Capacity building: Training programs and leadership development initiatives can equip women with necessary skills and confidence.

∙ Awareness campaigns: Public awareness campaigns can challenge societal biases and promote gender equality in political participation.

∙ Stricter laws: Effective enforcement of laws against electoral violence and harassment can create a safer environment for women in politics.

∙ Internal party reforms: Political parties need to adopt gender-sensitive policies, quotas, and mentorship programs to support women candidates and leaders.

∙ Empowering women voters: Educating and mobilizing women voters can enhance their political participation and hold parties accountable for fielding women candidates.

Way Ahead

∙ Increased representation of women in politics is crucial for a truly democratic and just society. 

∙ Addressing the existing challenges and implementing effective measures, including the prompt implementation of the Women Reservation Bill, will require sustained efforts from individuals, political parties, civil society organizations, and the government. 

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