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Women’s Suffrage And Elections in India – Sanitary pads for votes?

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Women’s rights have been a matter of contention and debate for centuries now; across all cultures, civilization and history. It is never a surprise, when even inside the walls of one’s home, a woman’s rights are considered privileges and not something that came with her birth. We have fortunately crusaded for rights- even lawful ones. Suffrage is something similar. So, what is a suffrage? “The right to Vote in a political election”. And why is the woman suffrage considered a movement in it itself? Because even in the first world countries, It has taken reformers and law enforcers long to grant equal rights to men and women. Several disagreements over strategies, traditions and societal prohibitions delayed the process of granting equal rights to citizens. It took the 19th Amendment of the Constitution, in 1920, to finally grant American women equal participation and rights of citizenship.

We can safely say, it is not cold drinks, rangoli and sanitary pads that bring women to the booths, it is the support of the community, education 

The Queen of England has successfully headed the church and remains at the helm of constitutional monarchy by conveniently remaining apolitical. The royal family has no voting rights.

Women Voters SheThePeopleAs the largest democracy in the world, heads to its Lok Sabha polls, let us take a peek to history. In 1950, with the Constitution in place, Independent India granted equal voting rights to men and women. Majority of the women did not vote in the first general assembly elections that took place in independent India. The leaders attributed the “purdah” system, household work and above all, the lack of knowledge on rights prohibited them to come to the polling booths. The solution was in setting up separate booths for men and women in forthcoming elections.

Its 2019! I just read the other day, that sanitary pads are being offered to women who turn up to exercise their most basic legal right- to vote in several constituencies in Mumbai.! The Election Commission has proposed the move in order to encourage more women to come out of their homes. There also will be rangoli to make the booths look attractive. As Mumbai goes on poll on April 29th, we are yet to see the outcome. But we can safely say, it is not cold drinks, rangoli and sanitary pads that bring women to the booths, it is the support of the community, education and the notion of exercising rights, which several women are essentially deprived of.

Views are the author’s own

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