Women’s Representation in the Temple of Democracy

Women make up 14.44 percent of the total members of the Lok Sabha, according to figures provided by the Inter-Parliamentary Union, of which India is a member.

According to the latest statistics from the Election Commission of India (ECI)-

Women make up 10.5 percent of the Parliament’s overall membership as of October 2021.
o The situation for women Members of Legislative Assemblies (MLAs) in India’s state legislatures is considerably worse, with a national average of just 9%.
o Women’s representation in the Lok Sabha has not risen by 10% in the last 75 years of independence.

Reasons for Low Representation :-

Rajya Sabha members demand women reservation in Parliament, state assemblies

Gender stereotypes:

  • Women have historically been tasked with handling home duties.
  • Women should be encouraged to break out from conventional positions and participate in the country’s decision-making process.

Competition:

  • Politics, like any other field, is a competitive environment. Women politicians, at the end of the day, are also competitors.
  • Many politicians are concerned that, in the event of women’s reservation, their seats will be rotated to women candidates, robbing them of any possibility of contesting from their seats.

Lack of Political Education:

  • Women’s social mobility is influenced by their education. Formal education, such as that given in educational institutions, provides opportunity for leadership and instils critical leadership abilities.
  • They are unaware of their basic and political rights due to a lack of political awareness.

Work and Family:

  • Because of the unequal allocation of family care obligations, women spend significantly more time at home and with their children than males.
  • A woman’s time and effort are required not just during pregnancy and childbirth, but also while the kid is reliant on parents for care.

Lack of Political Networks:

  • Lack of transparency in political decision-making and undemocratic internal procedures are a three-pronged barrier for all newcomers, but especially for women, who lack insider knowledge and political networks.

Lack of Resources:

  • Women are unable to gather resources and support for cultivating their political constituency due to their poor representation in India’s inner political party structure.
  • Political parties do not provide enough financial assistance for women to run for office.

Social Conditioning:

  • They must accept the rules that have been placed on them and bear the weight of society.
  • Public opinion influences not just how many female candidates win general elections, but also how many are considered and nominated for office, both directly and indirectly.

Unfriendly Environment:

  • Overall, political parties are not welcoming to women; they must work hard and deal with a variety of challenges in order to find a place for themselves inside the party.
  • Political violence has been on the rise. Women have been forced out of politics due to an increase in criminality, corruption, and insecurity.

Government Efforts :

India: 25 years on, Women's Reservation Bill still not a reality | Women  News | Al Jazeera

The Women’s Reservation Bill 2008:

  • It proposes amending the Indian Constitution to make women eligible for 1/3 of all seats in India’s Lower House of Parliament, the Lok Sabha, as well as all state legislative assemblies.

Reservation for Women in Panchayati Raj Institutions:

  • Women’s involvement in Panchayati Raj institutions is ensured by Article 243D of the Constitution, which mandates a minimum of one-third reservation for women out of the total number of seats to be filled by direct election and the number of offices of Panchayat chairpersons.

Parliamentary Committee On Empowerment Of Women:

  • The Committee on Women’s Empowerment was established for the first time in 1997 during the 11th Lok Sabha of the Parliament with the goal of enhancing women’s status.
  • Members of the Committee are required to work together for women’s empowerment, regardless of their political inclinations.

Way Forward :-

In a country like India, it is critical that all elements of society participate equally in mainstream political activity, hence required actions should be done to encourage it.

Passage of Women’s Reservation Bill:

  • The Women’s Reservation Bill, which asks for reserving 33 percent of seats in Parliament and all state legislative assemblies for women, requires agreement from all major parties.

Promoting local bodies female lawmakers on State level:

  • There is a pool of women who have served as sarpanches and members of local bodies and have three decades of expertise in local government governance.
  • They are waiting to play a larger role in state assemblies and in Parliament.

Women Quotas in political parties:

  • The Gill formula: It is necessary to implement the Election Commission of India’s (ECI) proposal to make it mandatory for recognised political parties to put a minimum agreed-upon percentage of women in State Assembly and Parliamentary elections in order to maintain their status as political parties with the Election Commission.

Promoting Inner party democracy:

  • A truly democratic political party, in which posts such as president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer are filled by an election process, will provide all female members of the party an equal shot.

Deconstructing stereotypes:

  • Women’s roles in society must be deconstructed from the stereotypical view of them as solely domestic.
  • It is vital for all institutions (state, family and community) to react to women’s special needs such as bridging gaps in education, renegotiating

Conclusion :-

  • Women’s roles in society must be deconstructed from the stereotypical view of them as solely domestic.
  • It is critical for all institutions (state, family, and community) to meet women’s special needs, such as closing educational inequalities, renegotiating gender roles, gender division of work, and confronting prejudiced views.