Women in Politics

Men usually excluded women from taking any important decision which made the women realise that they could only get to take part in decision making and their role could be counted as equal to men only when they had the right to vote. New Zealand was the first country to officially declare women’s right to vote on the year 1893. In India women got this right in the year 1918. The last country to give women suffrage was Saudi Arabia in 2015. The progress is slow as women are still underrepresented almost everywhere and attitude towards them is even worse.

Source: Pixabay

Women suffrage in India

When the women in India started fighting for their right for suffrage they not only wanted voting rights but also equal rights as men to have positions in an office. Even though in 1918 the Britain granted suffrage to women with property. Later on both men and women tried to give the voting rights for re-evaluation but it was ignored. After a lot of struggle they were allowed to vote and also stand for local elections. Women’s right to vote depended on their property, literacy and also their marital status initially. Even after the Government of India Act 1935 a very small percentage of women could vote. In the Constituent assembly of India 15 women won seats after which they made some changes in the constitution and later it was agreed to have universal suffrage in India.

British had always argued that universal franchise was a bad idea for india. Even Mahatma Gandhi was against giving women the right to vote, he believed women should stay home and support their men while they were fighting. Yet indian women’s organization still fought hard to get their right to vote. Women living in purdah were made an excuse which was used against their suffrage. Arguments like women voting would mean that they won’t be there to look after their husband and children and breastfeed the newborns. Their incompetence and inferiority was also put forward.Their voting rights were taken away in case they were divorced, widowed or even if the husband loses his property. In some matriarchal society where women held power it was resonated as an exception by the british government. Basically, women’s eligibility depended on their husband’s economic and social conditions, all this was due to the britisher’s disbelief on the illiterate masses of india. 

Even after Independence when constitution was being drafted and universal adult franchise was about to be officially declared for which both man and women had to register themselves for their voting rights, women denied revealing their names and addressed themselves as daughters, wives or mothers of the male members in the house, even though the registration had to be individual. Both the government and women organizations had to appeal to these women to give their real identity for their own good. There is now a reservation of one-third seats for women but many places have increased it to 50% reservation for women, and many places are working towards acquiring 50% reservation for women.

Every year the number of female voters have been increasing whereas male voters have been stagnant, in some places there are more women voters than men. This may be because all these years women have been told how to behave, what to wear, whom to marry and all such decisions are taken for them and now finally they have the right to say what they want to say, whom they want to say it to and how they want to say it. Since most men are occupied with their jobs it is the women who take care of everything inside and outside their homes due to which they have the knowledge to make better decisions. No part gives many tickets to women which evidently means women are being ignored in electoral parties and so are the issues related to them. Not many women are trusted to win elections as it is commonly said that women have set foot in a man’s world. Before elections parties come forward with promises made towards the benefit of women but those stay only for sometime till the goal of winning the election is achieved.

Source: Pixabay

Women in Panchayat

Given the fact that the treat of female sex is very bad in India it is an amazing acheivement when we see that the number of women in panchat is increasing, even after so many odds are stacked up against them. Unlike the uban feminist who are mostly projecting outrage and anger the women in panchayat are filled with humility and speak with clear minds. It is a lot harder for women in villages to hold such positions since panchayat takes away a day from their life which means they won’t get payment of wage for a day. The main concern of women in such positions comes from their own lives which makes it easier for women in villages to relate to, all they ask for is proper education, healthcare and funds to take care of the other two. 

Women are encouraged to microfinance through self help groups so that they can help themselves in times of need and don’t have to be dependent on anyone, even the banks since it is not easy for them to get access to banks and in some villages there are no banks. The women in panchayat even though themselves never got the opportunity of getting proper education because of caste politics and quota, yet they encourage education for all. These leaders also work towards the infrastructure of their village, provision of potable water, building of toilets, washrooms for both girls and boys separately, these are the necessary steps which are seen to be taken by these female leaders of the grassroot level of politics.

Elected Women Representatives have achieved a lot but have many hurdles in front of them. Years of patriarchy have affected them as they still face problems of domestic violence and the purdah system. Lack of cooperation by the male members as seeing women in a senior position hurt their ego and they deny working under them and even people in the administration do not cooperate with them. The years of practice of the caste system also plays a troublesome role. Women who are just starting to work in this sector have inadequate work knowledge and experience due to which they face problems and even their lack of education is an add on. They face problems in collecting taxes as many people in villages find it hard to pay taxes but they equally want the work to be done before time. It is hard to maintain a village since no one agrees to the two children rule and women are used as machines to give birth to more number of children. It also becomes hard for women in power to talk to men at times.

Women, Third World, India, Poverty
Source: Pixabay

Women in Indian politics

India falls in the lowest quartile with respect to the number of women in parliament. It is not that women are not allotted work but they are usually fined to women wing, they are given work related to women issues like dowry, rape, girl child marriage, etc. Women leaders broadly fall under two groups, one which has family ties and one which don’t, Sonia Gandhi and Mayawati, respectively. Most women politicians have found it difficult to rise within party hierarchies, and have managed to achieve clear leadership only when they have broken out and set up parties on their own. Another peculiarly Indian characteristic seems to dominate – that is the unquestioning acceptance by the (largely male) party rank and file of the leader’s decisions.

Even though we Indians take pride in saying that we have had a female president but women in Indian parliament still take up only 14% of the seats as of 2019. In india it is usually said that women are not interested in politics but in reality we see a huge turnout of women as compared to men in some places when it comes to giving vote or in campaigns done by any party. SOme are of the opinion that women are just there in politics for their male members in the house as proxies for them and they individually do not want to be a part of this politics. There are women who come from political dynasties but there are also crores of women who have been elected as representatives in the last many years. Sp it is a myth and more of a gender bias until substantial proof is provided. Due to gender biasness it has been assumed that she will not be able to develop her constituency, citizen and male representative and most women are criminals. But studies by the UN have found that constituencies led by women contribute more to the GDP by 1.8%. Constituencies see 15% more growth in the economy under women legislators. So we see that female legislators have led to an improvement in socio-economic development in their constituencies. It is also believed that women cannot win elections due to which they do not get tickets to contest in elections but in reality women are winning big and higher percentage even when parties are not fielding them.

Smriti Irani: Congress accuses Smriti Irani of 'falsifying' educational  records
Source: Google Images

 Inclusion of women

The system is designed in the way where even if a woman works hard and brings a great change in politics she is still considered to be a man in dresses. In this system of masculine hierarchy of work it has always been correctly assumed that the female will bring the required amount of femininity and values in the work. In the world of patriarchy women have always been expected to bring inclusion, fairness, empathy and so on whereas people seek for positive masculine which brings competitiveness, focus and assertiveness which transforms into domination, greed and corruption. Men are aware of the negative impact of all this yet they choose to achieve the predetermined goals over moral values. There should be a balance in masculine and feminine values and because there is an imbalance it leads to destruction in many places in many ways. Women are equally responsible for everything bad and good happening in this world. It is time to acknowledge women and feminine values and be interdependent and complementary in every sector for the world to grow. The focus only on women in the leading position is not enough, women have to bring their own things into the table and not just follow what has been going on for years.

Source: Pixabay

Women’s role in corporate sector

Women have come a long way to be identified working in the
corporate sector, even though women still have a long way to go.
Apparently in ancient times women dominated men, if not equal to
them. The world used to be more nurturing and caring and equally
responsible and hard working. Such matriarchal society is now
almost nowhere to be found and even after so many years of
struggle almost all the places are dominated by men and people
still follow patriarchal ideologies.

Suit, Business, Sw, Women, Attractive

Source: Pixabay


Enlightenment

Women before enlightenment were looked down upon as
subordinates. They were thought to be only responsible for
managing the house and kids and pleasing their husbands, that is
all they were thought to be capable of. Even though they worked
hard and kept the house together and did all the household
chores themselves they were not considered equal and at bad
times even humans. Even the upper class women were treated as
objects and commodities which can be exchanged to extend
family and power by marrying them with richer families. After the
coming of enlightenment, women started gaining knowledge, they
started questioning the society about the roles assigned to them
against their will. Women started moving forward with their
knowledge and skills and started competing with men for their
equal rights. Education helped women gain knowledge which
helped them to understand what was going on around them and
the difference between right and wrong.

But even this did not solve the problem entirely since many could
not stand women competing against men for the same position
which was previously assigned for men. Due to this sudden
change and disagreement people started opposing this move and
questioning it. The disagreement was not just verbal but physical
too. Women were beaten up and killed when they disagreed to
something, some were abandoned by the society and working
women even though worked hard, against all the odds in the
society, were looked down upon and were talked about and
misbehaved with due to which they started finding it difficult to
continue with their jobs even if it was hard earned and started
quitting to fit back into the society. The upper class women when
opposed the marriage which happened against their will, their
own families started abusing or killing them.
Enlightenment did bring the necessary and much required
changes in the functioning of the society but that was not enough,
it was just the beginning of a long journey and this journey started
from the coming of the enlightenment.

Source: Pixabay

Industrial Revolution

Before the coming of the industrial revolution women were
housewives who looked after the houses, took care of husband
and children, did chores and some traditional work like sewing
clothes. After the industrial revolution women saw a new change
in lifestyle, some of their traditional work was shifted to the
factory, like clothes were now produced in bulks and a large
number of work force was involved in this. Some women worked
in farms with their husbands, though they worked for shorter
hours than men but they did not get as long gaps or breaks as men. They did farming with lighter tools but even after working
hard they were paid one-third of what the men were paid.
Gradually there was a decrease in the number of women working
in farms.


There was a shift in living areas from rural to urban places.
People shifted to cities in search of employment and since the
coming of factories in cities there was a huge demand in the
requirement of employees. Since the factories were paying well
due to the rise in demand even women started coming out of their
houses and working in these factories with men because two
people can earn more than one and this leads to a better lifestyle
because of better income. Before the industrial revolution
people’s main source of income was their farm, they would grow
crops and sell them to earn for their basic livelihood. But now after
working in factories people started earning more which meant
better lifestyle because of which more number of people started
shifting from villages to cities in search of work in factories to
improve their living conditions by earning more. The freedom of
women to work was being explored by women, this was new to
them, stepping out of their houses and working.


But all this came with disadvantages too, women were paid lesser
than men for the same work or sometimes even more. Slowly the
role of women was to work in the factories and mines and the
men were made to supervise the women. Women were made to
work in unsanitary conditions and their education was
compromised. Their life was miserable as they had to work more
than men at their workplace and had to come back home and
take care of the family. Women did not just have the burden of work in mills, factories and mines but added a burden of societal
pressure which expected women to give birth to children. This led
to the formation of labor unions where when laborers were
exploited they would protest for their basic rights and demanded
equal pay. Many times men would get what they demanded for
but women had the disadvantage of being considered the weaker
sex due to which they were exploited more and their demands
were easily ignored. This was the time when feminist movement
came into existence. These women came together and fought for
their position in the society, they demanded equal status as men.
This movement was only successful because these women
fought towards gaining their right to vote, which until then was
only reserved for men, in some places it was just the right of
privileged men with properties. With the right to vote their voices
started to be heard since their vote was essential for a party to
win. All this was possible with the coming of feminist movement
where women came together to get the rights they deserved for
so long.

Women Workers in the Industrial Revolution

Source: Google image

Modern Age

At present women are said to get equal opportunities with men
and compete at the same level as they do. Both the sexes are
considered to be equal, especially in the urban areas. But this is
only actually so in an Ethiopian society. The sexism has truly
decreased in comparison to previous times but has not been
completely eradicated. At least in rural areas the sexism is seen
openly and at least people who are trained can do something
about it. What’s more dangerous is the sexism that prevails in
silence in urban areas.

Even though education now is available to almost all, it is quite
inclusive in nature, the representation of women is truly changing
with time and not just confined to the basic societal roles assigned
to women, politically too we see many women representatives
with an increase in leadership qualities, women voicing their
opinions from all age groups but that is not all. In workplace
inequality can be seen even if it’s not talked about much. Women
are not taken seriously, achievements of women are not given
much weightage, an evident biasses towards a particular sex can
be seen by and large. The representation of women in the
corporate sector is quite low and the women who are in
leadership positions are even lower. Even though the big
companies are found to be more inclusive than the smaller ones,
it’s still very small in number.


This gap is mainly because of the evolution of exposure received
by women over the years. Men were always considered the
working sex whereas women got a special category created just
for them and not men, ‘housewife’. Women took years to come
out of their houses so it took them ever longer to work and
compete with men. Even if we look at the education sector where
previously there was no place for women, it has now evolved to
making education a priority for both the sexes. Yet this inclusion is
not enough since some people still don’t send their girls to be
educated because of their mindset which is fixated into old beliefs
that men is the only sex which deserves to be educated or else
because of a family’s economic condition where if given a choice
they send their boys to school since their girls would grow up to
be married to someone and won’t be there to look after them.
Even if the government is taking many steps for their education still we see a large number of dropouts after school, most of which are girls.


We see a huge following of women in the film industry where the
actresses have more followers than actors on any social media
site but there too lies an ugly reality of sexism where like any
other workplace there is an inequality in the payment of salary
where actors receive more than the actresses. Even in sports
which are being played by both the sexes, though women came in
late due to obvious reasons, yet the hype of men playing sports
and their media coverage is a lot more than women playing
sports. Even now laborers of both the sexes are not paid equally
for the same job they do.Women and men both have been
protesting about the equality in the workplace in the way of
treatment and payment.

Silhouette, Women, Work, Walking, Strut, Handbags


Source: Pixabay

Why is there inequality?


Firstly, this inequality is because of years of unequal treatment of
women from time immemorial due to which it took years for
women to first overcome that injustice and then be able to do
something about it. Secondly, the treatment of women in different
class and caste, even if people in urban areas claim that
differentiation on the basis of caste does not exist, it does due to
which women of a lower caste finds it difficult to find a job and if a
girl is from a lower class her struggle begins from the time she
starts going to school because even going to school is a privilege
for her. Third, even a capable woman loses out on her dream
because her family has a mindset of women not going to work
and being married after reaching a certain age, for these families when a girl is born in their house they are still considered a
liability rather than an asset.


Fourth, the family and the women herself does not feel safe
enough to get out of their houses and get a job because the world
is an unsafe place for women in general. Women are not only
considered unsafe outside their homes but also inside, in such
cases it’s obvious that the place she works in is unsafe too due to
which news about workplace harassment is quite common. To get
a woman to work it needs to be made sure that a woman feels
safe just like a man if not more, but this theory has a long way to
go to be practical. Fifth, women have formed a feminist movement
which brings together not just women but men too to fight against
injustice faced by women but this will be effective only when
women themselves have each others back and support each
other instead of pulling each other down just to be successful.
Sixth, the word ‘allowed’ needs to stop being celebrated. The fact
that some women flaunt that their parents, parents-in-law,
husband or any other member ‘allowed’ them to study, work or
anything is not celebratory but derogatory instead. Women have
their own right to study, work and do everything and achieve
anything.They do not need someone’s permission to do so.

A lot has been achieved in the fight of equality between men and
women and a lot needs to be achieved to win the battle, the only
way each one of us can do our part is by raising our voices
against any injustice we face in our daily lives and put forward our
opinions and not keep things to ourselves thinking that no one
cares because someone is always listening and every voice
counts. It just has to be heard by the right people at the right time.We can’t lose hope after coming this far or else this long fight
which has been fought by so many and for so long would be
worth nothing and it’s our responsibility to bring this fight to its
destination.

Source: Pixabay