Despite the fact the women form nearly 49 per cent of the total population, their representation in politics has remained considerably low. A survey report tabled in the near past states that factors such as domestic responsibilities, lack of support from family members and patriarchal structure of society account for this. This correspondent spoke to some of the women in Haridwar to know their point of view on this subject.
Apart from low representation in politics, even the participation of women in election can get influenced by various factors. The women from economically poor backgrounds are vulnerable as some party agents tend to target them with inducement to gain their votes. Manu Kajala, first time voter and student of BSc in SMJN college said, “I have seen people selling their votes. Some of the youths and women who are poor and living below poverty line are influenced by netas who give them Rs 500 and a dress to wear before elections. I teach them not to be influenced by such inducements.” Teaching in slum school at Jatwara bridge, Manu has stopped many children from begging and motivates people to exercise their right to vote without being influenced by gifts.
Neha Malik, a social activist who encourages people to donate eyes after death and holds awareness camps said, “When my husband died, I was stopped by my family from coming out of the house to cast vote in Assembly elections. But I convinced my mother in-law with patience and motivated her to exercise her right too. Women must support women in the festival of democracy, then only their representation in politics shall be enhanced.”
Among the educationists in the city, Anju Chauhan and Neeta Nayar said that women have broken the male bastions in almost all domains but in politics they are yet to make their presence felt. It is still considered wrong if women indulge in ‘netagiri’. This taboo needs to be broken, said Anju. A democratic set-up demands equal participation of both men and women in the politics of the country but as United Nations has opined, women are the world’s largest excluded category when it comes to political participation. For bringing about equality, things must be changed at grassroots level. Literacy must be increased, say the educationists.
Tuesday, 09 April 2019 | Radhika Nagrath | Haridwar
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