Lok Sabha Election 2019: Shortage of women candidates exposes apathy of political parties, patriarchy in politics

With the Lok Sabha Election 2019 knocking on the doors, ticket distribution to candidates in every party is at its peak across the country. The southern state of Tamil Nadu is no exception. However, what is disheartening is the obvious gender bias with the ratio of male and female candidates heavily bent towards men. No matter which political party finally comes to power, it is a fact that women have already lost the battle. There will be hardly any significant number of women MPs in the new Lok Sabha.

It's incomprehensible why political parties deter from giving more tickets to women candidates. Does patriarchy come as an obstacle in the path of women who may choose to have a career in politics?

It is ironic that women find so little place in India's political spectrum, leave alone seats in Parliament despite constituting half the country's population. Even a party led by a strong women politician like J Jayalalithaa has failed to give women their due when it comes to the distribution of tickets in the party.

Women neither need spoon feeding nor hand-holding when it comes to operating from political platforms. Women are good administrators. The change in the depressing present scenario is only possible when women take upon themselves to empower themselves and realise the importance of it.

 Lok Sabha Election 2019: Shortage of women candidates exposes apathy of political parties, patriarchy in politics

Women wait to cast their vote at a polling booth in Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. AFP

There is no reason as to why women should play second fiddle to men when they are quite capable of competing with men, rather better than men.

Even today many women are deprived of quality education or academics as a whole. Despite its giant strides in the 21st century, India is still to eradicate the evils of female foeticide, child marriage, anti-widow remarriage and the Devadasi system. Accepting patriarchy happens to be the normal order of society even today.

During the pre-Independence era, women in India were not even allowed to vote. Right to franchise was the exclusive privilege of taxpayers, landholders and the so-called educated class.

It was BR Ambedkar, who, through the Constitution of India ensured social security to women by conferring rights such as the right to education, job opportunities, hostel facilities for working women, rights over property and inheritance and the voting rights.

With women achieving in various fields educationally and economically, men orchestrate the narrative of alienating women from politics. Their political power is reduced merely to either participate as voters or stay put as spectators of political events.

Today’s mainstream political parties have their roots grounded through the efforts of women. in many political entities, women’s aspirations to climb to various positions of authority and assume power are torn asunder by the unscrupulous attitude of men emerging through the patriarchal order of society.

Attaining political power is the only solution to all sorts of discrimination such as sexual harassment conducted against women in all spheres. Men are no saviours.

Women can understand better than men about basic necessities such as education and healthcare. For example, women rebelled against the imposition of a higher rate of tax on sanitary napkins through the Goods and Service Tax introduced by the Narendra Modi government. The administrative skills of women will be well exhibited through their political participation in decision making bodies.

Adequate political representation is essential in attaining gender equality. Statistics depict that nations that have a relatively higher representation of women in their political spheres of decision making are witnessing a significant decrease in the various forms of discrimination that society faces in general and women in particular. Thus, we as a nation are in the need to emphasise on women attaining positions of power but also ensuring SC/ST representation within the 33 percent reservation for women in Parliament.

In what's fast turning out to be another instance of utter disappointment, political parties have squandered an opportunity to remarkably enhance women's participation in active politics. There is no better evidence than this that Indian politics is still in the grip of staunch patriarchy.

Men must know that democracy will at best be jerry-built by leaving half the population. It is the responsibility of men to help establish egalitarianism in politics where all genders participate in the principle of equivalency without favour or bias. If ones this equality is instituted the future generations will have a nice legacy to carry forward. 

Till the men accept and agree that women are not ersatz commodities in the field of politics, it's for the women to fight for the social justice with chutzpah where men and women travel together in all spheres of life and society.

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Updated Date: Mar 27, 2019 12:20:18 IST