electing a lady….!

Posted on September 18, 2010


it is a global experience that in any political system,right from the developed to the developing nations,the presence of women in the political process is marginal except a few countries like the nordic countries.women in several countries had to wage long and grim battles to even get a basic”right to vote”.radical feminists were not satisfied with this.they claimed that the demand for the right to vote came from women of the elite urban sections hoping to create a niche for themselves in the political arena.they wanted to look for a way that would certify the opinion of women  as an integral part of the policy making n policy formulating decisions n its here that the crunch lies!though number of female voters have increased considerably in several countries their political status still remains predominantly secondary!in most cultures there is a complex matrix of poilitical power composed of innumerbale social heirarchies of which gender is only one component.however,the general assumption that the ubiquity of women’s secondary political staus demonstrates how politics is deeply intertuned with other aspects of life.they see politics,economy,culture,religion n law as mutually constitutive,each creating itself n the other at the same time!

now,stepping back,when we look at women’s marginal political participation in the context of gender and patriarchy.its interesting to note that feminist scholars define gender as the”sociocultural manifestation of being a man or woman and arrived at a “gendered” understanding of d society!its been a tough battle to show that women are not just mere composites of female anatomy.sex and gender are NOT identical!!!sex connotes a biological difference between a male and a female.gender is by far the most potent and enormously useful concept that feminists have thrown up claiming that body differences do not n should not warrant such discrimination and that its very much sexually produced n created by our society!

the concept of gender thus explains the division of spheres of actions assigned for both men n women.due to these differences,a new concept of d so called “superior species” originated.rationality,self discipline,competition n universality are priced qualities of political parlance n hence considered to be inherent in males.whereas,qualities like irrationality,indiscipline,inefficiency,impulsiveness are associated with female nature.its all about changing d very mindset of people aroun us.the very concept of “patriarchy” implies that power is imperative in gender relations n is always associated with dominance.what we need to realise is that power does not necessarily mean dominating or subjugating the other party.we often boast about d modernisation of society and the emancipation of women when thousands are murdered,burnt alive for dowry,raped,molested,harrassed,abused(mentally,physically,emotionally)right under our nose.we quote exemplary figures who have made a  place for demselves in this male dominated society but the process of development would never be complete unless we touch the grass root levels.

as far as the inability of a woman to be an effective,forceful and output producing leader is concerned,let us look into the concept of politics once again.politics has been defined in several ways but dere is a common thread running through all of them!political sphere basically includes the spheres in social relations where power relations are generated,institutionalised and used to control,encourage n move people’s attitudes in a specified direction to regulate the distribution of resources.female scholars have fiercely challenged the dominant hypothesis that politics is confined to public sphere!they have forced authorities to take account of problems hitherto regarding as belonging to private life.d struggle is still on…..dere have been major developments but the overall transformation of attitude n seeing things from an unbiased perspective is still to be attained!


Ishita Sinha

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