The lack of plentiful women in elected offices in India is injustice to women, but equally unjust to men. So here’s the way forward for Indian men as political agents. 

Men see the damage that poor policy and abysmal implementation has wracked on the country. They see party after party, and coalition after coalition flounder in governance, fritter away extraordinary opportunities to reform education, healthcare, agriculture, and finance. Indeed, the demographic dividend itself is slipping away from India.

The reaction is to lament the lack of alternative.

That, right there, is blinders, reminding us that doing the same thing over and over again, and yet expecting different results is disingenuous.

Central committees of political parties, filled with old fogeys, is same old wine in clothed in different party colours. Newly minted 2019 election committees and selection committees of various parties, take your pick, is recycled stale leadership from every year prior.

Some takeaways:

  • Is “There is a no other alternative” a valid justification to electing the same parties?
  • Could the lack of women in politics be an injustice to men? How?
  • Evaluating the impression that women do not have the experience for politics.
  • Men must overcome hesitations, recognise that women are the only realistic alternative to transform the politics of India

The lack of plentiful women in elected offices in India is injustice to women, yes, but equally unjust to men.

The alternative, dear men, is not a new party or new parties. Even the new ones, while walking like swans, quack like patriarchal ducks when selecting election candidates and sharing power.

The alternative is simply women in the mix. New blood to stir thinking, devise orthogonal approaches to governance and break that mouldy male mould. Catalysts for change. Secret sauce.

The lack of plentiful women in elected offices in India is injustice to women, yes, but equally unjust to men.

Every day boys and men go through their lives not seeing is women in political leadership, party leadership, making laws and crafting policy. This forms unconscious impressions that women are uninterested in leading India, incapable of winning elections, managing budgets & administering state. This has built generations of men with skewed notions of power. Of their own aggrandisement, and a stunted notion of women’s. What a delusion of a life to lead!

India women and the vote

Not to mention the self doubt, diffidence and damage it does to women themselves, being bereft of political equality 70 years into representative democracy, despite political ambition of lakhs of female party workers, and local body representatives.

Seeing a smattering of women as Chief Ministers or in Cabinet or here, and there, like dressing on salad, will not do the trick. They are seen as, and indeed they are, exceptions. Women need to abound, as much as men in politics. Otherwise, the men of India, the majority of whom are well meaning will see the country bogged down by both overwhelming misogyny and low grade policy, simply for lack of perspective and diversity. If nothing, this sidetracks and ultimately overshadows good governance.

Governance can provide goodness for everyone only when created by all.

Women candidates, even if you imagine them inexperienced, are not the risk. If anything, their inexperience, of which they are acutely aware, at every painstaking step, will propel them to consult with more knowledgeable others and gather diverse opinion.

The risk, nay failure, is the repeatedly criminal, corrupt, non-performing liability that you have been re-electing. Certainly not the best, not even meritorious, so let us leave the M word be.

India women and vote

Mandela says this best, “Your playing small does not serve the world … As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

So, unshackle your hesitations, dear men, and vote female. No matter which party or election.

There is a talent shortage in politics of astronomical proportion simply because pretty much 50% of the talent is out of contention.

Therein lies your alternative to transform India.

Views are the author’s own

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