Gender equality is a long way in India’s political and electoral arena as political parties remain reluctant to attract more women in elections. In ongoing multi-stage elections for four state councils and a united territory, parties choose only a handful of women to run for office.
Of the 3,559 candidates contending for 238 seats in the Tamil Nadu state parliament, just 380 (11%) are women. The Ruler of All India is Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) Only 14 women (8%) of its 171 candidates in the competition. Only 11 (6.3%) were women out of the 173 contestants of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and out of the 25 candidates run by its ally, the National Assembly, only one was a woman. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), AIADMK’s counterpart, has three women out of its 20 candidates.
Even self-proclaimed progressives discouraged women from fighting. At an election rally in December, Kamal Haasan, founder and leader of the newly formed Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) expressed concern about the small number of women on the Tamil Nadu council. However, when it comes to deciding candidates for parliamentary elections, this concern does not determine his decisions. Just 12 out of 154 people Women run for the MNM plank. The only party in Tamil Nadu with women matching their number in the population is Naam Tamilar Katchi (NTK). Fifty percent of designer candidates are women.
Neighboring Kerala outperforms other Indian states in human development indicators; According to the 2011 Census, the state does sex ratio of 1,084 women per 1,000 men compared with the national average of 940 women per 1,000 men. However, there is little parity when it comes to elections. Of the 420 candidates vying for 140 seats in parliament, only 38 (9 percent) is a woman.
In the northeastern state of Assam, just 74 (7.8%) of the 946 candidates were women.
The story is similar in West Bengal. Of the 294 candidates for the Trinamool Congress, 50 were women. There are 35 women on the BJP list of 283 candidates and 38 women in the list of 250 candidates for the Indian Secular Front-Congress-Left coalition. While the number of women that the Trinamool Congress put forth is “much lower than the fairness would require”, the provision of 17% of seats for women is “higher”Than the allocation of its rivals.
Obviously, political parties around the world are reluctant to accept female candidates. Why is this so? According to experts, women are often considered weak and putting them in elections is seen as a “risky”. However, data from a series of recent elections points to the opposite: that women are doing well in elections and “good bet. “
If women are less successful, this is not because they have any inherent flaws, but because the small number of people running are usually allocated electoral districts, where the party’s chances of winning are very low. . In Kerala, the National Assembly “usually put it up Inalienable chair to women ”; in the 2016 parliamentary elections, all eight of the party’s female candidates lost.
Although the majority of political parties have refrained from choosing a reasonable number of women in elections, they all acknowledge the value of the women’s vote.
In Tamil Nadu and Kerala There are more female voters than men, while living in Bengali they make up 49 percent of the electorate. In addition, the proportion of female voters who vote is quite high. Importantly, unlike the experience decades ago, when women’s suffrage was influenced by patriarchal decisions, they became increasingly independent in the choice of who they voted for.
With this in mind, political parties are attracting women in the ongoing election campaign.
In Tamil Nadu, alliances led by AIADMK and DMK as well as MNM have promised monetary assistance for women head of household. They are competing to attract female voters with promises to offer them maternity leave, a washing machine, free bus pass, etc.
In Kerala, the LDF has promised the women there will be a washing machine, a food processor and a refrigerator if it comes back to power. “The goal is lightening housework for women, ”It said in its election statement. It also promises housewives a grant. Meanwhile, the National Assembly-led United Democratic Opposition Party (UDF) in the state announced a dole monthly 2,000 rupees for all women aged 40-60.
Women’s rights activists are not impressed by the big promises that parties are making to female voters. The basis of these documents is the perception of women as powerless and in need of men’s protection. Swarna Rajagopalan, founder of Prajnya, a Chennai-based gender rights organization, points out: “In this patriarchal perspective, you can only imagine fathers, brothers and uncles who provide socks. both these benevolent prerequisites for their women.
India’s chief political parties are giving women freedom to win their votes. But they don’t want to go beyond that to share power with women.
Interestingly, most parties in the current electoral conflict favor a third of the seats available to women in parliament and the state council.
Although the Women’s Rights Bill has yet to be enacted, parties claiming to support the act may help realize its goal by ensuring gender equality in the election of candidates, in the legislature where at least 33% of their seats are occupied by women. They don’t need to wait for the bill to become law.
The fact that none of them have done so shows their shallow commitment to women’s empowerment.