Is Politics A Men’s Game???
Hello Athenas! The other day, I was surfing through news channels and almost all were showing German Chancellor Angela Merkel being re-elected. This set me thinking. India no doubt has its fair share of smart women capable of leading the nation. Yet, we see but a paltry few willing to throw their hats into the political arena. I began wondering why. Is it due to lack of self-confidence? No, that doesn’t seem quite right. Our women have demonstrated their ability to be leaders in various fields, and politics is just another field. So it’s not a question of self-confidence or lack of leadership qualities. Then what could it be?
I had quite a stimulating conversation with a few smart women over lunch which may be the answer to this question. Shilpa, a young advertising professional, looked at me as if I had suddenly sprouted horns on my head. “Sure Diana, I sometimes feel like running for office, but then, what’s the point?” I pressed her to explain further. She went on to ask me what chance a woman with reformist views stood against an electoral mass whose minds were dulled by the promise of freebies made by established political bigwigs. I could totally see where she was coming from.
Sameera, a respected lawyer, chimed in. “These days, women are being blamed for anything bad that happens to them. Imagine the amount of brickbats a woman leader would receive if she was at the helm during a financial crisis such as the one we are experiencing currently. People would be quick to say, ‘Oh she’s a woman and that’s why she has allowed the country to get into such a mess.’ But tell me, where’s the hue and cry now?”
Asha, a chartered accountant, nodded her agreement. “Besides,” she said, “even if we don’t mind the brickbats being hurled at us, each and every move we make will be under a microscopic scanner. Since we’re women, the margin for making errors is non-existent. One mistake and the country will be baying for our blood. And all because we are women. It’s a battle we face everywhere and more often than not, come out victorious. But in the political arena, it’s no holds barred. It’s not really fair, you know.”
I said thoughtfully, “I agree. Even if one survives the mud-slinging and being constantly under a microscope, even the good we accomplish will not be appreciated. It’s hard to survive that.”
“So it’s no wonder most Indian women shy away from politics even if they have the capability,” summed up Sameera. “Discrimination against us has to stop. Remember the Battle Royale which took place when the Women’s Bill calling for 33% reservation for women was tabled before Parliament? My question is, why is there even a need for such a bill? This nation must automatically get behind any women who can be a strong, shrewd leader and has a clean record.”
“Well said, dear friend,” we applauded.