Q. 125.0( 3 Votes )

(a) Could you think of some reasons why women’s representation is so low India?

(b) Identify the measures to check the low representation.

(c) Which values are revealed in such measures?

Answer :

(a) Women’s movements and many feminists believe that women’s issue would only be taken into consideration when women control power. It means women should represent themselves politically so that their issues get enough attention.

The percentage of women in the legislature is low, for instance, elected women members in Lok Sabha has never reached even 10% of the total strength and in state assemblies, it is less than 5%. Even when a woman becomes the chief minister and prime minister, the cabinet is dominated by all male members. In India, women’s representation is low because-

• Literacy rate – the literacy rate among women is 54% as compared to men which are 76%. Moreover, only the small percentage of girl students pursues higher studies. Girls drop out as preference has been given to the education of the boy child.

• Unequal job opportunities - Highly paid and valuable job opportunities for women is still very less in India. Women usually work one hour more than men on a daily basis. Women in our country are not paid equally and her job is also not valued.

• Equal Wages Act - The Equal Wages Act mentions that equal wages should be paid to equal work irrespective of class, color, creed or gender. But in India, even though men and women do exactly the same amount of work, they are not paid equally, this happens in every field like sports, cinema, in factories and fields.

• Child sex ratio - This happens even today, that even before the girl child is born they abort her. This led to a decline in the child sex ratio (number of girl children per thousand boys). Women are also the victim of beating, harassment and other forms of domestic violence.

(b) To check the low representation of women in India, the following measures are taken:

• It should be made mandatory that women should be in fair proportion in elected bodies. This step was taken by the Panchayati Raj has done in India.

• In panchayats and municipalities, One-third of seats are now reserved for women in local government bodies. It is because of this measure that in rural and urban local bodies, there are 10 lakh elected women representatives.

• The Women’s organisations and activist demanded seats in the Lok Sabha and State Assemblies for women. They demanded reservation of at least one-third of seats.

But even though the bill with this proposal was made but it is still pending before the parliament. Political parties have no interest in this proposal and the bill has not been passed.

(c) Through the mentioned measures, it is clear that gender division continues to exist. The values revealed are:

• The existence of gender division proves that some form of social division needs to be expressed in politics.

• Moreover, when social division becomes the topic of discussion in politics, some disadvantaged groups, get benefitted.

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