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The term ‘political participation’ has a very broad meaning. It is not only related to ‘Right to Vote” but simultaneously relates to participation in: decision making process, political activism, political consciousness. Women in socialist democratic countries have higher proportion of representation in their federal parliament than women in Canada because In Canada there is less population as compare to socialist democratic countries. Moreover, females are least interested in parliament. In democratic Female politicians are more likely to concentrate on problems that matter more to women such as daycare, gender equality, reproductive rights, elderly care and children’s welfare.“Women turnout during India’s 2014 parliamentary general elections was 65.63%, compared to 67.09% turnout for men. India ranks 20th from the bottom in terms of representation of women in Parliament“. Not only has these women politicians taken an interest in various policy issues. But it also had been shown that they also govern differently. “In Sweden 45 per cent seats are occupied by women in parliament. So far as the administration is concerned, there are only 592 women IAS officers out of 4,671 officers”(Puja mondal).
The demand for special concessions and privileges along with the reservation of posts and other civic institutions are a few steps towards women empowerment in India Assemblies and parliament. “Lyn Kathleen” shows that American female politician have very different leadership styles from men. “In her study Not only do women politicians take an interest in different policy issues, but it has also been shown that they also govern differently.” Since the modern notion of human rights originated in a western women in Islamic countries in particular, find themselves in a quandary when they initiate, or participate in, a discussion on human rights whether in the west or in Muslim societies. Indian women have a distinction to become UNO Secretary (Vijay laxmi Pandit), Prime Minister (Indira Gandhi), Chief Minister (Sucheta Kriplani, Jayalalitha, Uma Bharati, Mayawati and Vasundhara Raje) and even President (Pratibha Patil).
Furthermore, ‘the limited empowerment that we have seen has been nurtured within the socio-economic-political empowerment process of people, including women, through the Panchayat system’ (Bagchi 2002)
Structural barriers include the level of socio-economic development in a society and the percentage of women in professional and managerial activities. There is a direct link between the social and economic status of women in society and their participation in political institutions and elected bodies. Socio-economic obstacles include poverty and unemployment, lack of adequate financial resources, illiteracy and limited access to education, choice of professions and the “dual burden” of family and a full-time job. Women take on a disproportionate share of household tasks which makes a political career almost impossible. Moreover, household tasks, taking care of the children and elderly are not always considered as actual work.
Because of their multi-level hierarchy and complex decision-making help to preserve barriers in such a way that proposals regarding any aspects of gender equality often do not reach the top decision-making level.
“In Slovakia, the electoral system is based on proportional representation on candidates’ lists, which means that women have (theoretically) a better chance to be elected. The position of women on the candidates’ lists is then crucial for their eligibility: the higher a woman is seeded on the list, the bigger chance she has to be elected. In the 2002 elections, the share of female candidates seeded in the top half of candidates’ lists was 20.9% and the share in the top quarter was 17.9 %.( Alexandra 2002). Many women and men do not think that introducing quotas is a good idea. Men argue that it would be humiliating for women to introduce a quota system because ‘our clever women can succeed themselves’, and it would be against the basic human rights and equality of all. Women are skeptical mainly because of the experience with quotas from the socialist past, and because they believe that the society is not yet prepared to accept quotas.
Education is the best way to understand the inequality. With the help of education they have better job opportunity and serve better their community. Because women have less access to education than men, their professional advancement and chance to enter institutions involved in corporate politics at an operative level are reduced. Some societies and parents see their role in giving a full quality education to women as a privilege that can be withdrawn. The impact of illiteracy on the exercising of one’s political rights has been the main method to reduce it. Women do not enter nontraditional occupations; instead women enter nurturing or tertiary occupations which inhibit political life and the growth of self confidence. There is a mindset on the part of many men and women that a role in politics is unsuitable for a woman.
Poverty is also one of the major hindrances for women to be involved in politics, namely, the disproportionate effect of poverty on women. Because of women’s care giving responsibilities they often work part-time, which has a lifelong effect on women’s income and women who do work full-time still earn less than men Whereas men who enter into politics tend to come from law and business and earning better. In addition, many women are discouraged by a lack of resources to finance their electoral campaign or undertake serious initiatives. Often poverty also prevents women from taking the time for political involvement.
“Christy Clark BC MLA(2001) asked by several Journalists to explain how she could do her job properly as provincial minister of education while simultaneously raising a new born child”
Type of democracy is also important.
- Bashevkin, Sylvia (2009), “Introduction”, in Bashevkin, Sylvia, Women, Power, Politics: The Hidden Story of Canada’s Unfinished Democracy, Oxford University Press, p. 15,
- Bagchi, A.K.(2000), sangskriti, samaj,o Arthanity (in Bengali: culture, society, and economics), Calcutta.
- United Nations Children’s Fund, The State of the World’s Children 2004: Girls’ education and development, UNICEF, New York, 2003.
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