Women’s Equality in Politics – A Developed Country’s Viewpoint

Recently, I came across a very interesting Ted Talk by Sandi Toksvig, the co-founder of Britain’s Women’s Equality Party. In the talk she addresses some very pertinent issues, like her own lesbian marriage, and being a career woman. But the key aspect of the talk, was political empowerment of women. In the talk, she discusses her journey of founding the Women’s Equality Party in 2015.

Some excerpts:

“We wanted to be the only political party with no particular political leaning. We wanted people from the left, from the right, from the middle, every age group. Because the whole point was to work with a simple agenda: let’s get equality in every aspect of our lives, and when we’re finished, let’s go home and get the other chores done.”

She goes on to say:

“And let’s get more women into politics, OK? Let’s immediately get more women into politics by being the only political party to offer free childcare to our candidates, so they can get out of the house and start campaigning. Within 10 months, we had more than 70 branches of our party across the UK. We stood candidates for election in London, Scotland and Wales in May 2016. One in 20 people voted for our candidate for London Mayor. And when the men in the race saw how many votes we were attracting, wonder of wonders, they began to talk about the need to tackle gender equality.”

Centre for Social Research, and its director, Dr Ranjana Kumari, have been working on the cause of political empowerment of women for many years now. In an interview to the Hindu in October 2016 on the issue of triple talaq, Dr Kumari said “If women were better represented in Parliament, these laws would have been repealed long ago.” Recently, Dr Kumari, was part of a women’s delegation which met Smt. Sumitra Mahajan, Speaker of Lok Sabha, to press for quick passing of the Women’s Reservation Bill

Our commitment to #Ab33Nahi50 movement, seeking greater representation of women in politics stems from our belief that having gender equality in politics is the key to any country’s development. Having said that, a recent report on Global Gender Gap published by the World Economic Forum, showed that India ranks 9 in the world in terms of political empowerment of women. This is an extremely heartening finding, and shows that all the efforts of different governments and civil society organizations towards seeking greater representation of women have proved to be fruitful.

Having said that, we would like to reiterate gender equality in parliament is an issue world over, as shown by Sandi Toksvig, and this is why all nations and political parties must work together to combat this issue in a holistic way.

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