Finally, we also discuss whether reserving quotas for seats in parliament and assemblies will improve the representation of women in India democracy. We show that given the framework of electoral politics, reservations for women is unlikely to have any immediate impact.
While it is a positive trend in itself, this increased turnout of women voters in India has not yet converted into greater representation of women at the central or state level. The lack of representation at the Parliament and the State Assemblies comes in the way of highlighting and addressing the grievances of women as a social group. These countries have begun to perform better due to several reasons, but also by ensuring reservation of seats for women, recognising them as a historically subjugated class of citizens.
While India gave all its citizens the right to suffrage simultaneously, due to the orthodox and patriarchal set up of the Indian society, women did not emerge as a strong voter constituency. Much of the progress came from the imperatives of designing policy in line with the Fundamental Rights and the non-justiciable Directive Principles of State Policy, for example, equal pay for equal work, safe working environment and maternity leave. This trend has been complimented with an associated increase in women standing up for elections. This explains the recent surge in states considering or passing bills that target women voters are a witness to this finding, for example, liquor bans, widow pensions and policies targeting girl education in various states.
While the gender gap in voting is closing fast, there remains a significant gender gap in the proportion of voters who voted independently. About two-thirds of women report consulting family, friends or colleagues when considering how to exercise their vote as against just one-third of men. However, the extent of political socialisation is greater among men with many reaching out to people outside of their immediate family.
The question about what tectonic shifts in the Indian democratic landscape caused a pink revolution of sorts in terms of women turnout continues to be a labyrinth— with a number of factors interplaying with each other. However, it is certain that this silent revolution is no longer going unnoticed by the political parties in India.
The historic 73rd and 74th constitutional amendments not only embarked India on a route of decentralised governance— a recognition of the fact that governance should be responsive to the local contexts—but also a momentous time for the women in public life. The constitutional amendment mandated that at least a third of all members and chairpersons at all the levels of PRI be women. We find that the greatest increase was among the traditionally backward North Indian states.
Equipping women with leadership skills, however, is simply not enough. The chapter also finds that while there is an increase in agency for women on domestic issues, it does not always translate into greater economic independence. It is encouraging that states like Haryana and Rajasthan have gone so far as to experiment with the minimum qualification for elected women representatives of PRIs.
Recently, the Rajasthan government further allowed leprosy patients to contest PRI elections if they met other eligibility criteria.
Gender Inequality and Internal Conflict
We cannot ignore the fact that as a result of such policies, households and the community at large will be encouraged to keep female children in school which may further result in progressive changes in demographic indicators such a child sex-ratio. Moving on to gender inequalities in opportunities, this compendium has two chapters focused on wage gap in the labour market and inequalities in opportunities within the higher education sector of India.
A wide gender pay gap is a pinching reality for women across the globe, it is not peculiar to India alone. The extent of discrimination varies across regions and ethnicity. Monster Salary Index finds that Indian women on average earn about a fifth less than men performing the same job. While this is naturally discouraging for a young and aspiring country like India where a large number of women are educated and trained to join the job market, this is also consistent with global trends.
Such disparities not only discourage market entry but also strengthen regressive gender norms apart from encouraging gender based occupational sorting—women systematically taking up jobs that are not considered, stereotypically, challenging or competitive; roles that are seen as cut out for women due to the lack of their masculine character, such as, teachers, receptionists, and nurses. Wage parity would encourage a greater number of women to enter the job market besides pulling a number of women out of poverty.
Unlike, the private labour market, the government sector has better gender parity of wages. There is a growing literature which has studied the impact of this on long term household wellbeing in rural India. India has a long history of differential gender socialisation leading to a lopsided access and agency over assets.
Limiting women to the house for the sake of their safety is associated with perverse spill-overs such as developing lack of their way around the outside world, risk of backlash when stepping out and a general sense of dis-empowerment.
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It is hostile to the idea that every individual should be allowed to develop their natural core competencies such that they become productive assets socially whilst pursuing their individual interests. The limitation of choices is the most punishing at the intersection of rural landscape-poverty and gender. A poor rural woman has to navigate not just the societal norms and the cultural contexts she finds herself in, but also her own conditioned biases vis-a-vis her capabilities.
The intersection of these limitations with the imperative of attending to economic needs results in multiple burdens. Our constitutional forefathers and mothers provided for equal pay for equal work in the, non-justiciable but essential for efficient governance, section of the Directive Principles of State Policy DPSP. However, equal pay for equal work continues to be elusive in Indian labour market as in most developing economies.
What are the various means with which we can empower rural poor women? A potential solution, as discussed in a previous chapter on elected women representatives in Panchayati Raj Institutions, may lie in introducing them to the working of local government, the manner in which they could effectively make their demands heard and needs met.
Overall, interventions at the rural level to ensure wage parity through the means of leadership skilling seems like an effective policy tool in rural Indian context. Extending the discussion on gender inequality in opportunities, is the chapter on women in STEM careers Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.
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The answer is that their struggle continues, facing subtle and sometimes not as subtle hue of prejudice. The differential gender socialisation, springing from patriarchal social norms, results in not only male experts having little experience of interacting with female experts in the same field but also young girls having a dearth of positive role models in the discipline of their interest.
It seems that this negative feedback loop is key in sustaining the gender gap in STEM careers. To encourage greater representation of women in science it is pertinent to understand what motivates them to take up research in the first place as well as what helps them stay in research. When trying to understand the common underlying factors that motivate women to take up science, parental support and guidance by mentors stand out.
Spousal support emerges as a key factor in helping women stay in research. It would be germane to not only conduct gender sensitisation of the male-dominated hiring committees but also design policies that encourage healthy representation of women in the power structures of higher education to introduce a balance in such hiring committees. Further, the general lack of willingness to report to female administrators needs to be addressed. If we try to analyse the potential sources of gender gap in STEM disciplines, then one of the key emergent factor that keeps women from growing, in line with their merit, is their role in child bearing.
Critical years of professional growth coincide with many personal milestones such as marriage and motherhood. A key realisation is that all dimensions of society— politics, employers, and the families themselves — have to support women in re-entering their disciplines by forming new norm to partake in childcare. Further, discouraging the hiring of a married couple in the same department and the general lack of quality institutions in close geographic contours introduces strains on the marital relations. Since women scientists report that spousal support is key to staying in research, this is a factor that institutional policy should investigate and address.
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So, we recommend that paternity leaves must be made mandatory along with maternity leaves. This equalises the costs to firms while hiring employees who bear and rear children. This must be treated as a social cost to cover the social benefit of having and raising children in society.
Causes and Effects of Gender Inequality - Essay - Words | Bartleby
The theory of pipeline with regards to women in positions of power in higher education posits that once there is a large enough pool of women in higher education, they will organically move up to positions of authority and power. Intuitively, it would imply that the first step towards reducing the gender gap in the structures of authority and power in the realms of higher education would be to provide young girls equal access to quality higher education.
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