Views & Reviews
Female Voters, Male Winners: A Paradox in Poll-Going Mizoram
Equal participation of men and women is not only a prerequisite for justice and democracy, it is an inevitable condition for harmonious human existence as well. the integration of women into the talent pool becomes a must. There is no denying the fact that greater participation of women in the political process would be a pre-condition for their economic and social emancipation. Women’s participation in politics can facilitate democracy, not only because it improves their civil rights and helps them speak out their interests, but also because powerful women tend to make different policy choices from their male counterparts, which are beneficial to the local distribution of public resources and the development.
It is perplexing to witness the parochial and discriminatory approach of the political class on issues of representation. While on one hand they appear to uphold the banner of inclusive representation based on criteria like caste or region, on the other hand they display a conspicuous apathy to women’s representation.
The cause of concern is under-representation of women in political field and decision making the gaps between women and men on political empowerment remain wide: The declining electoral success of Kerala’s female MLAs does not represent their emancipation and, instead, appears to indicate hardening resistance to their social presence Paradoxically, The states of Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Kerala, Manipur, Meghalaya, and Mizoram, and the Union Territories of Daman and Diu, and Puducherry also reported higher turnouts among women than men in the 2013 Vidhan Sabha elections (Election Commission, 2013). this enthusiastic participation in elections does not ostensibly translate into proportionate electoral power for women and only a few of them assume the reins of power.
We can witness Mizo women moving with a sense of freedom on the streets of Aizawl; wearing stylish clothes, speaking confidently, riding scooters and outshining men in academics and entrepreneurship, but no space for them in politics, which still remains a fief of men. In the electoral rolls of 2013, 2014 and 2018, the number of female electors outnumbered the males, the latest being 1,051 women electors to 1000 men. Mizoram has zero per cent female Members of Assembly. This proves that patriarchy runs deep in hill State Mizoram despite the fact that this state has more female voters i.e. 3.93 lakhs (51.2%) as per 2018 electoral list.
Above Table powerfully tells the story of the persistent missing voice of women in these states.
The real problem lies in the social fabric that does not encourage women to participate in politics. Other reason are (i) the nature of the electoral system (ii) the nature and processes of political parties (iii) women’s lower levels of education and socio-economic status (iv) traditions and beliefs about the role of women in society, and the burden of combining work and family responsibilities.
Political parties should come forward to increase women representatives. The absence of critical mass of women representatives has pushed women to the fringes in power sharing and has adverse impacts on their overall political status. Gender stereotypes which perceive women as weak representatives should be changes through awareness and education. Efforts need to be taken to enhance the participation of women in governance in large numbers.
Mithilesh Kumar Sinha