April 20, 2024

Lukmaan IAS

A Blog for IAS Examination

EVEN VISIBLE WOMEN FIND IT HARD TO BREAK THE GLASS CEILING

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THE CONTEXT: Recent controversies have highlighted the deep-rooted misogyny in Indian politics. Women politicians face character assassination, gendered insults, and limited power-sharing. Despite increasing presence, women encounter patriarchal attitudes across sectors.

ISSUES:

  • Deep-rooted Misogyny in Politics: The political arena in India is described as supremely misogynistic and hostile to women, with instances of vulgar social media posts and public aspersions casting a spotlight on the issue. Despite laws providing for women’s reservations in legislatures, politics remains dominated by male networks, and women struggle to break the glass ceiling.
  • Character Assassination and Gendered Insults: Women in politics face character assassination and are often subjected to gendered insults and mockery, both by political opponents and the media. This includes derogatory comments about their appearance, personal life, and capabilities, which are not similarly directed at male politicians.
  • Limited Power Sharing with Women: Despite political parties seeking women’s votes and making declarations about women’s empowerment, there is a reluctance to share real power with women. The ruling party’s disregard for complaints of sexual harassment by women Olympic medal winners highlights this issue.
  • Challenges for Women Leaders: Women who have risen to leadership positions often had the support of powerful men or came from influential families, with Mamata Banerjee being a notable exception. Women leaders face dreadful insults and are held to different standards than their male counterparts.
  • Stereotyping and Gender Apartheid in Media Representation: The media often stereotypes women leaders, focusing on their appearance and personal traits rather than their political achievements. This contributes to a culture of gender apartheid, where women are not taken as seriously as men in politics.
  • Barriers to Women’s Political Ambitions: Women politicians who attempt to carve out their identity or aim for top positions are often labeled “rebels” and face barriers within their parties. Even competent women leaders must temper their aspirations due to an invisible boundary that limits their rise in politics.
  • Misogyny Beyond Politics: The issue of misogyny extends beyond politics into society at large, with women facing challenges in the workforce, safety concerns, and harassment on social media. Despite increasing presence in various fields, women still encounter patriarchal attitudes.

THE WAY FORWARD:

  • Legislative Reforms and Reservation of Seats: Implementing and enforcing legislative reforms that ensure a certain percentage of seats are reserved for women in legislative bodies can significantly increase women’s representation in politics. This approach has been suggested as one of the most effective ways to ensure women’s effective representation.
  • Education and Training Programs: It is crucial to conduct education and training programs for women to empower them to participate in politics. These programs can help build confidence, skill sets, and an understanding of the political landscape, making women more equipped to navigate and succeed in political arenas.
  • Addressing Violence and Harassment: Creating safe and inclusive political spaces is essential to encourage more women to enter and stay in politics. This includes addressing and preventing violence and harassment, both physical and online, against women in politics.
  • Changing Societal Perceptions: Combatting gender bias within political parties and society is necessary. This involves challenging and changing the perception that women are not suited for leadership or certain political positions.
  • Promoting Gender Equality in Decision Making: Encouraging women’s participation in politics makes a difference, as women bring different views, talents, and perspectives that help shape the political agenda. Changes in how parliaments operate, such as improvements in language, behavior, and issue prioritization, reflect the positive impact of women’s presence.
  • Global and National Initiatives: Supporting initiatives aimed at strengthening parliamentary democracy and involving the political leadership of both men and women in efforts to eliminate all forms of violence against women and promote gender equality.
  • Cultural Shifts: Emphasizing the importance of gender equality from an artistic perspective, recognizing the strength and capabilities of women as leaders, and challenging traditional roles that limit women’s participation in politics.

THE CONCLUSION:

The fight against misogyny in Indian politics is far from over. It requires more representation, legislative reforms, and societal shifts. Empowering women in politics is crucial to a genuinely inclusive democracy.

UPSC PAST YEAR QUESTIONS:

Q.1) What are the continued challenges for women in India against time and space? 2019

Q.2) The reservation of seats for women in the institutions of local self-government has had a limited impact on the patriarchal character of the Indian Political Process.” Comment. 2019

Q.3) Which steps are required for the constitutionalization of a Commission? Do you think imparting constitutionality to the National Commission for Women would ensure greater gender justice and empowerment in India? Give reasons. 2020

Q.4) Is the National Commission for Women able to strategize and tackle the problems that women face in both public and private spheres? Give reasons in support of your answer. 2017

Q.5) Though women in post-independent India have excelled in various fields, the social attitude towards women and the feminist movement has been patriarchial.” Apart from women’s education and women empowerment schemes, what interventions can help change this milieu? 2021

MAINS PRACTICE QUESTION:

Q.1) Despite laws mandating reservation for women in legislative bodies, Indian politics continues to be marred by deep-rooted misogyny and underrepresentation of women. Critically analyze the reasons behind this phenomenon and suggest measures to create an enabling environment for greater political participation of women in India.

SOURCE:

https://www.deccanherald.com/opinion/even-visible-women-find-it-hard-to-break-the-glass-ceiling-2962538

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