“I can’t stress enough why women’s political participation is important,” Ms. Bachelet said. “It is, of course, because it’s the right thing to do, because it will create better democracies…” Ms. Michelle Bachelet is a Chilean Social Democrat Politician who served as President of Chile from 2006-2010. “For me, a better democracy is a democracy where women do not only have the right to vote and to elect but to be elected”, she adds. As observed by Philips Ann and Rai M. Shirin that Democracy has historically served men better than women.
Women have been kept outside the domain of politics and this view is celebrated and cemented by political philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, Thomas Hobbes simply because women possessed a caring nature which is suitable for being mothers and wives. The ringing question is doesn’t today’s democracy need precisely this caring attitude in politics? And hasn’t this care and affection, or ‘the feminine factor’, mingled with discretion has placed female political leaders at the apex of political glory? But the small amount of women who are able to access this route and also the stereotypes attached to a female leader is alarming.
There are presently 8 women Presidents, 10 women Prime Ministers, And 1 women chancellor in the world. The talk of the credibility of the women in power would leave everyone awestruck. Women from time to time have been successful in making crucial decisions with pragmatism and discretion in the history of world politics. India as a country is as richer in biases as much in culture. The concluding statement of IPU conference “Towards Partnership between Men and Women in politics” held in New Delhi in February 1999 was highlighted by nearly all male and female delegates present. It stated that allthough the Constitution of their country provided for equality between men and women, there is a vast difference between theory and praxis. “Women’s political power is increasing, still not equal “ stated one of the member of the Nordic country in the conference.
The diligence of women in political affair have been proved but still not approved. The lineage of this diligence in India can be traced back to the Mughal Period. Noor Jehan, the wife of emperor Jehangir. She had her mastery over poetry, jewellery and garment designing and had an appreciative eye for art objects. Despite possessing the ‘feminine’ qualities of care and affection, one cannot fail to notice the political insight she had. When Jehangir was productively paralyzed because of alcohol and opium, Noor Jehan ran the court and firmly took all the decisions. Ministers consulted her on most matters of state and finance. In 1626 Jehangir was captured by rebels while he was travelling to Kashmir.Noor Jehan provided him release by her negotiating skills. She is believed to be the greatest power behind the Mughal throne.
The recent Muzaffarnagar riots became one of the prime examples to weigh the strategies of Mayawati and Akhilesh yadav. The Hindustan Times newspaper under the title “ Akhilesh cant, Mayawati can” reprimanded Akhilesh’s strategies as incompetent, flagging him as a “failure” with the killing of 35 people in the communal riots. It’s been well stated that the riot was foretold but failed to be stopped. How did Mayawati control it for 5 years under the same machinery? The answer is Mayawati’s clarity of thoughts and leaving no loopholes of confusion making it a successful strategy as the lack of proper communication, because of many interventions, is the reason behind Akhilesh’s failure. The distribution of works under Mayawati’s time period was more systematic giving the machinery a coherent structure which failed with Akhilesh.
Zooming out, the world is full of examples of powerful women leaders with strategic chorence, delicacy of attitude, organized decision making skills and prudent thinking. Angela Markel, A German politician is elected as the Chancellor of Germany third time in a row. Her careful techniques is well appreciated and hence she holds great faith within the Germans. She has been successful in controlling Euro crisis to some extent. After the nuclear disaster at Fukoshima she shut down all the nuclear power plants in the country. With the care and concern of human lives it also had a strategic plan of eliminating her opposition The Green Party who opposed nuclear power. Joining Ms. Merkel are many names such as Margaret Thatcher, Condoleezza Rice et al, all outstanding when it comes to politics.
To observe is that women who participate and shine in politics are not necessarily single.In the IPU survey of Women’s Political experience and their Contribution to the Democratic Process, done with a total of 187 women of 35 different countries, 60% were married, a close proportion were either single or divorced , and a small proportion were widowed. Although the vices of power and the greed for money is not absent from women leaders and this becomes evident in some cases but the point here is that the qualities of care and affection on which grounds the earlier philosophers rejected women in politics are precisely was is needed to re-orient the otherwise dissembled state of current politics. And there are many women leaders who can mingle this care and affection with the prudence of mind and such women should be given a free route to change the face of poilitics.