International Journal of Applied Research
Vol. 1, Issue 11, Part G (2015)
Political Participation of Women: Some Issues and Challenges
Indian democracy is more than 50 years old now yet the ideals of democracy are far from destination especially for women in India. It is a global experience that women play a marginal role in politics. Their political participation is almost invisible; however, the importance of women’s political participation for a viable democratic polity is being increasingly realized in all corners of the world. Women constitute nearly 50 percent of the total population in any country and if it has adopted a democratic system it cannot run successfully with just half of the population. It will be a crippled democracy. So, to think of a democratic government, without their participation is unthinkable and to empower them socially, economically and politically will require their decision-making capabilities. Moreover, women as a group have problems, demands and aspirations which cannot be aptly expressed by men. The problem issues of the people in any country such as, education, employment, health and nutrition besides the country’s foreign policy, relationships with other countries, issues of war and peace, science and technology, protection of the environment do need a women’s angle because they will affect women too, in a particular manner. But a glimpse at the world scenario gives us the grim picture that barring a couple of exceptions, most of the Parliaments have 93 percent male representatives and just 7 percent are women. The World Congress of women at Beijing in 1995 reiterated the importance of increasing women’s participation in Politics and in its “Platform of Action” recommended ways and means to the participating countries to increase “space for and visibility” of women in political institutions and processes. This is the important first step towards women’s empowerment. The Women’s Reservation Bill in legislatures seems to have shown some light at the end of the dark tunnel that they have been pushed into since time immemorial. Merely lamenting upon the state would not lead us anywhere. The movement for creating adequate space for half of our own population in the process of decision-making, right from within the home to the state and national legislature is required to be taken to its logical end. This paper is an endeavour to present the need and imperatives towards enhancing women’s political participation. An attempt has also been made to peep into the history of women’s political participation.