Indian elections may see its biggest turnout of Indian women voters across the states, however, when you dig deeper one finds that politics is not a passion that burns among them in terms of their opinion of it or to pursue a career in the field. A recent study by Lokniti-Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) in collaboration with German foundation Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) found that only one in ten women had the freedom to participate in political matters; the rest were forced to take the permission of their husbands or older relatives to attend events like to attend political rallies or campaigns, meetings of local candidates, protests or demonstrations, or even village meetings.
6 in 10 women completely rejected the very idea of having a political career
The study analyzed the participation of 6,348 women across 11 states in India like Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Punjab, Kerala, Mizoram, Odisha, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Telangana, and the Delhi National Capital Region. They were surveyed between March and April in 2019 and the report stated that only a little above a quarter of the women actually were keen on pursuing a career in politics. Also, six in ten women completely rejected the very idea of having a political career. So, what is stopping women from doing so? One word. Patriarchy. From the lack of proper education to household responsibilities women are being prevented and ‘Cultural hurdles such as women not being permitted to talk to other men, the purdah system, and restrictions on mobility get in the way, too.’
It’s easier for a woman with a political background to join politics compared to a woman without one
Furthermore, there is a strong belief among people that women can only succeed in politics if they belong to the creme de la creme of society or if they come from a political family which means that they do not always have to work their way up from the bottom of the tier. 56 percent of respondents thought that it is “Easier for a woman from upper caste to join politics compared to women from a lower caste,” while 58 percent thought that it was “Easier for a woman with a political background to join politics compared to a woman without any political background.” Also, 44 percent said that people are more likely to vote for a woman than for a man and therefore, this report is showing the reality of life in India for women, particularly the reason why many of them are not choosing to get into politics.
Image credit: The New Leam