In what can be a labelled as blatant misogyny against women in politics, senior BJP leader Dayashankar made headlines a few days back, with his derogatory comments towards BSP leader Mayawati. He was quoted as saying
“Even a prostitute fulfills her commitment after she is paid. But Mayawati sells party tickets to anyone who paid her the highest amount. If someone gives her Rs 1 crore for a ticket she will give it to other person who is offering Rs 2 crore. Mayawati has become worse than a prostitute and abandons the ideals of Kanshi Ram.”
Following this, the House unanimously criticised Dayashankar Singh’s remark and he has been sacked from his post with immediate effect. Although the Leader of the House and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley expressed his regret to Mayawati, we are still utterly disgusted by the deprecating comments made by such a senior leader. Social media, and other political parties, have come together to criticize these comments. Noteworthy are the remarks of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa who said “I have experienced similar issues in my political tenure. The comments against Mayawati made my heart weak. I hope such attacks on female politicians will end.” It is sad that these are not one-off cases. In the past, Smriti Irani has also been subjected to various derogatory remarks, and social media trolling.
All this reveals the incredibly patriarchical nature of politics in our country, which acts as a big barrier to the entry and success of women in the political sphere. While we condemn these remarks, we are also appreciative of how quickly social media erupted on this, and forced BJP to sack Dayashankar Singh. However, we also wish that this happens every time such comments are made, so that such instances reduce, and women are given equal footing and respect as their male counterparts.
At Centre for Social Research, we have been fighting for the passing of Women’s Reservation Bill with great zeal and passion. We, along with IIM Bangalore, had also successfully run a course for women leaders “India- Women in Leadership” in 2012, and strongly believe that women in politics is the absolute need of the hour. We hope that such derogatory remarks don’t hinder the entry of women in politics, and we see more women in power in the coming days.
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