Politics as a career choice for women

Politics as a career choice for women

Politics as a career choice for women

Gurbax Rawat March 30, 2021

It is largely believed that women are less interested in politics, they don’t really want to run for elections and are not made for a career in politics. Most political parties have male-dominated flagships as the myth that women may be unfit for a political career, is very deeply entrenched in the minds of society at large. In 80s, when one of my aunts expressed that she wanted to be an engineer, her family’s objection was that why does she want to become an engineer? Can she even become an engineer? It was considered to be a male thing. It was especially ironical because our Prime Minister was a woman at the same time. In the history of our nation we have had so many women politicians including Chief Ministers and yet there is an unspoken resistance in political packs to field female candidates in elections. In the last 2 decades there has been a steep rise in the number of women who are interested in pursuing politics as a career.

When a woman wants to become a journalist, a banker or a computer engineer, she is at liberty to make those choices these days. No one asks her how she is equally or more competent than his male counterparts. She can become a banker because she wants to be one without worrying about being better than any man. Being ordinary or extraordinary depends on one’s capabilities as an individual. The same must hold true for women in politics. Women have a right to govern simply because they want it, they don’t need to be better than men. When a woman is hoping to start a career in politics she should be welcome by political parties to join them. In our patriarchal society men in politics, most of them, use other men for political power. They are either sons of somebody, fathers of somebody, nephews or related for some reason. But one thing has to be understood very clearly that in politics once a woman acquires a position of responsibility and power, she has to walk the walk independently. She cannot be accompanied by a male patron to the assembly, house or to the parliament. She has an office, she has to understand the protocol, the environment and take independent decisions.

The seed of my political inclination were sown many decades ago. My grandparents were freedom fighters in Indian National Army and participated in Quit India Moment. My father, an army veteran, participated in combats of 1962, 1965 & 1971, went to Congo with an army contingent for a peace mission and joined the police force post retirement. I was brought up in an environment where women were treated as equals from generations. My foray into politics began by supporting my husband who was actively involved in politics and fought elections.

In my opinion women joining politics is no different than men. However, many women step into politics simply because men in their family are unable to contest due to women reservations in the province. I contested from a woman reserved seat and have been chosen by the people of my ward for two continuous tenures to serve the society at large. All this while I was employed as a Senior team member with an IT company at Chandigarh, nurturing my young daughter, managing the household and doing justice to my appointment as a chosen public representative. To be able to strike a balance between domestic responsibilities, work and public service one must be able to compartmentalize the brain so that the challenges of one sphere do not interfere with the challenges of another. In fact I began using my experience at corporate to better my dealing with public offices and workers. 

The biggest challenge that I faced as a woman politician, in the initial few years, was to make many believe that I could work in politics independently. During my initial days as an elected representative the discussions revolved around the capability of a woman representative to handle the MC staff, liaison with police and ensure the development of the ward. The voters had to understand that in the same arena there were potential women candidates that could be voted to power purely on the basis of their capabilities and potential. Once I assumed my place as a politician I drew a lot of strength and support from my family. Infact the biggest asset is my mother-in-law who attends to every person visiting my home with a big smile. My husband has been a constant source of support and encouragement as it is much needed. Just like any other corporate job there are good and bad days in politics.

Like any other career whether it's a bank or a corporate or a university or a hotel, the bottom line is about the job satisfaction and work environment. The initial days in politics are more like examining then confirming. You need to identify a suitable, likeable, good candidate whether a male or female, reach out to their local office, sign up and see the party environment and culture for a couple of months to begin with. The big challenge of being a political leader, representative and aspirant is that you need to be a people’s person and to be able to mobilise people, convey a positive message and encourage them for activities that bring values to their lives and the society. It is also reflective of your capabilities and qualities as a leader. And also helps you to make necessary changes as and when desired.

In contemporary times it is not correct to say that there is lack of women in Indian politics. The social entrepreneurs, housewife, working women take an active part in politics; whether it is the RWA (Resident’s Welfare Society), MWA (Market Welfare Society), family politics or interpretation of political analysis or debates at prime time.

The lack of gender-balanced leadership has been a problem in India and around the world for centuries. Although women make up for a large percentage of our population, and graduate with over sixty percent of all undergraduate and graduate degrees, they continue to be severely underrepresented in upper-level leadership in almost every company, organization, and politics across India. Much has been done over the years to move toward equality for women in order to bring them to the powerful place of leadership men have held from the beginning of our country’s founding. The role of women in the farmer’s protest is very inspiring as these women have broken the myth that village women do not understand politics and that their place belongs in the confines of four walls.

[elementor-template id="1076"]