At all levels of government, India performs abysmally in terms of women’s representation in political bodies. But nobody seems intent on tackling this.
In today’s political landscape, motherhood is often deployed as a tool to highlight the ‘sacred’ nature of a subject, ranging from the Gau mata to Bharat mata and Ganga mata. At the same time, issues around women’s rights and empowerment, varying from triple talaq to Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, are regular topics of conversation in political circles. But an important question remains: do the men in Indian politics only want to talk about women, or are they also willing to make an effort to share power with them?
Women representation in numbers
The figures on the representation of women in parliament reveal an appalling state of affairs. According to a study conducted by Inter-Parliamentary Union, India ranks 149th in a list of 193 countries in terms of women’s representation in the lower or single house of parliament (Lok Sabha, in the case of India) as of July 1, 2017. The average percentage of women’s representation globally stands at about 22%, whereas in case of India it is a mere 11.8%.
Equal participation of men and women is not only a prerequisite for justice and democracy, it is an inevitable condition for harmonious human existence as well. Effective representation of women in decision-making structures will have a bearing on the policies, vision and structure of institutions. And that’s something everyone should be fighting for.
- Haris Jamil, The Wire