The nation once again goes to conduct another general election for the 17th Lok Sabha which is going to be the most consequential election in the history of our country. Indian women voters are in focus as well. Women of India consider it a crucial battle whose aftermath will remain the same as in last five years. The rate of increasing sexual violence, honour crimes, atrocities against Dalit, Adivasi and minority women, rising unemployment, hunger and relentless price rise is not going to reduce.
I hereby wish to draw public attention to the issues that have affected women in recent times. The concerns highlighted above need to become part of the mainstream political agenda in the forthcoming elections and in future government policy to ensure equality and dignity for the women of this country. Women from Dalit and Adivasi communities face structural violence and rape from those who wield enormous social and economic power which is very unjust.
The Congress party manifesto states that in the first session of the 17th Lok Sabha, it will pass the Women’s Reservation Bill, reserving 33 per cent of seats for women in the Parliament and state Assemblies. How true will it appear after the party wins?
Despite a mandatory constitutional law of right to property, women still do not have the right on the same terms as men. It varies according to personal and community laws that are patriarchal and deny women equal right to inherited and matrimonial property.
India ranks 149 out of 190 nations in the percentage of women in the lower house of world parliaments according to Inter-Parliamentary Union which is not very appreciating. There are 66 women MPs in Lok Sabha, occupying 12.6% of its 524 seats, while the world average was 24.3% on January 1, 2019. Does it matter? It does because a greater representation of women elected would balance the process and prioritizations of issues that elected bodies focus on.
This can be easily done by increasing quotas for women in Parliament and by creating awareness that encourage women towards politics.
India has had a long-serving woman prime minister and several women chief ministers along with speakers of the House. Yet its record of women parliamentarians is not good enough.
The corridors of power in the national capital were all abuzz after Priyanka Gandhi Vadra announced her formal entry into politics and she is really performing well. Her entry is being suspected a game changer in the upcoming 2019 Lok Sabha elections. With this move she joins the select list of women politicians in India who have been known for their mass appeal and bold decisions.
The select list also includes some prominent women leaders like Sushma Swaraj, Smriti Irani, Mayawati, Mamata Banerjee, Nirmala Sitharaman and many more. These women have achieved a milestone in Indian politics.
Women representatives bring economic growth to their constituencies which is significantly evident in a study by the United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research. I personally think if more number of women representatives are elected in upcoming election, it can be a great solution to the problems faced by the women of the country.
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