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Gender and Politics

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The gender divide is commonly perceived as natural and irreversible. Rather than biology, it is founded on social expectations and preconceptions. The effect of this division of labor is that, despite accounting for half of humanity, women have a minor role in public life, particularly politics, in most nations. Only men were previously permitted to participate in public affairs, vote, or run for public office. Gradually, the question of gender became more prominent in politics. It advocated that women’s political and legal status be improved, as well as their educational and career prospects. Feminist movements are movements started by women to achieve equality in personal and family life.

Gender and Politics

Gender and Politics

Political Representation of Women

Women’s issues are not given the attention they need. Many feminists and women’s movements have concluded that unless women get control of power, their problems will not be adequately addressed. For the first time in India’s Lok Sabha, elected women made up 12% of the total membership for the first time in 2014. Their representation in state legislatures is less than 5%.

An equitable representation of women in elected authorities is one strategy to address women’s issues. One-third of seats in local government bodies are designated for women in Panchayats and Municipalities. There are presently over 10 lakh elected women parliamentarians in rural and urban local governments. Gender inequality is an example of how politics must reflect social divisions. This also demonstrates that when socioeconomic divisions become a political issue, disadvantaged groups benefit.

Women Representation in Democracy

The representation of women in democracy can be discussed in the following ways:

ECI on women’s representation in Politics

  1. According to the Election Commission of India’s report, women make up 10.5 percent of the Parliament’s overall membership.
  2. Women’s plight is much worse in state legislatures, where they make up roughly 9% of the elected officials.
  3. In the last 75 years of independence, women’s representation in the Lok Sabha has not even increased by 10%.
  4. In India’s major political parties, women employees abound, but they are frequently marginalized and denied a party ticket to run in elections.
  5. According to the Global Gender Gap Report 2022, India ranks 135th out of 146 nations in terms of educational attainment, indicating that education has a significant role in determining women’s political participation.
  6. Education has an impact on women’s social mobility.

Are women adequately represented in elected assemblies?

  1. Despite these increases, women’s participation in elected entities remains dismally low.
  2. In 1952, women made up 6% of the first Lok Sabha in India. Women’s representation in the Lok Sabha reached an all-time high of 12.15 percent in 2014, sixty-two years later.
  3. The situation is even worse at the state level, where women account for only 7.3 percent of the population.
  4. Some states, such as Nagaland and Mizoram, have no female legislators. Jammu and Kashmir (2.27 percent), Goa (2.5 percent), and Karnataka (2.5 percent) are the worst achievers (2.65 percent ).
  5. Haryana (14.44 percent) is India’s best-performing state, followed by West Bengal (13.95 percent), Rajasthan (13.48 percent), and Bihar (13.48 percent) (11 percent ).

Reasons for Low Representation

  1. Gender stereotypes: Women have traditionally been tasked with handling home duties. Women should be encouraged to break out from their traditional positions and participate in their country’s decision-making.
  2. Competition: Politics is a highly competitive field. Female politicians are also competitors. Many politicians are anxious that if women are granted voting rights, their seats will be rotated to women candidates, robbing them of their ability to fight from their seats.
  3. Lack of Political Education: Women’s social mobility is influenced by their education. Formal education allows for leadership development and instills key leadership skills. Due to a lack of political understanding, they are unaware of their basic and political rights.
  4. Work and Family: Women spend much more time at home and with their children than men due to the unequal distribution of family care tasks. A woman must devote time and effort not just during pregnancy and childbirth, but even when the child is no longer dependent on her parents for care.
  5. Lack of Political Networks: Lack of transparency in political decision-making and undemocratic internal processes are challenges for all newcomers, but especially for women, who lack insider knowledge and political networks.
  6. Lack of Resources: Due to their lack of representation in India’s inner political party structure, women are unable to gather resources and support for growing their political constituencies. Women do not receive appropriate financial backing from political parties in order to run for office.
  7. Social Conditioning: They must accept the restrictions that have been imposed on them and bear the weight of society on their shoulders. Public opinion influences not only how many female candidates win general elections, but also how many are considered and nominated for office, both directly and indirectly.
  8. Unfriendly Environment: Political parties are unwelcoming to women; they must work hard and overcome numerous obstacles in order to secure a place inside the organization. There has been an uptick in political violence. Due to an increase in crime, corruption, and insecurity, women have been forced out of politics.

Special Initiatives for Women

  1. The government established the National Commission for Women in 1992, which is a statutory organization tasked with studying and monitoring all things relevant to the constitutional and legal protections afforded to women, reviewing current legislation and suggesting revisions where necessary, and so on.
  2. The 73rd Constitutional Amendment Acts, passed by Parliament in 1992, guarantee one-third of all seats in all elected offices in local governments, whether rural or urban.
  3. The Girl Child National Plan of Action (1991-2000): The goal of the Action Plan is to assure the female child’s survival, protection, and growth, with the ultimate goal of constructing a brighter future for her.
  4. National Policy on Women’s Empowerment, 2001: In the year 2001, the Ministry of Human Resource Development’s Department of Women & Child Development drafted a “National Policy for the Empowerment of Women.” The policy’s purpose is to promote women’s advancement, development, and empowerment.

Steps Ahead 

  • Women who have served as sarpanch and members of local bodies and have three decades of experience in local government governance are available.
  • To maintain their status as political parties with the Election Commission, it is necessary to carry out the proposal of the Election Commission of India (ECI) to make it mandatory for a minimum agreed-upon percentage of women representation in State Assembly and Parliamentary elections.
  • All female members of a fully democratic political party will have an equal opportunity at positions such as president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer, which will be filled through an election process.
  • The traditional idea of women’s duties in society as mainly domestic must be dismantled.

FAQs on Gender and Politics

Question 1: What is the connection between gender and politics?


Political participation and experiences often interact with gender identity, and how the ideas around gender shape political institutions and decision making.

Question 2: What is the role of gender in Indian politics?


Women in the case of India participate in voting, running public offices, and political parties in the lower levels more than men. Political activism and voting are some of the most important and strong areas of women’s political participation.

Question 3: What is gender politics equality?


Gender equality in the case of politics refers to the system in which women and men have an equal share of parliamentary seats and also ministerial positions. Equal access to positions and participation in decision-making on an equal basis are some of the important requirements for gender politics equality.

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Last Updated : 28 Mar, 2023
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