The women in politics face different issues due to factors arising by virtue of the gender. Even the Political power has not guaranteed women from facing gender related violence and discrimination according to the recent report by the United Nations (UN). It has been found that character assassination and the verbal-sexual abuse of women are prevalent in South Asia politics. So far as India is concerned, several states are affected by this issue, especially Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Karnataka cutting across party lines. The fear prevented affected women from participating in political process not only as contestants but also as voters. What is shocking is that the perpetrators were men from their own party, the report which was conducted between 2003 and 2013, says. The study was conducted in India, Nepal and Pakistan by the UN Women and Centre for Social Research, New Delhi in which 250 respondents from India, including men and women in urban and rural areas, campaigners, journalists, police, Election Commission officials, advocates, judges, and elected representatives participated.
The study found mainly following points:
Rampant Verbal Abuse:
As per the report, 49 per cent of respondents in India said that there was verbal abuse and 45 per cent said physical violence and threats were common leading to reduced women’s political participation wherein perpetrators were other male contestants. This makes women isolated in political process, according to report. The verbal abuse and expletives were common in life of a woman politician while men intimidate to withdraw ticket. If a women gains political clout, they are harassed mentally as well by character assassination.
Ridiculing the Issues Raised by Women:
As per the report, it is tough for women politicians even to work with men on a day to day basis in any political party as the women’s issues are not given due seriousness and sometimes ridiculed.
Fresh Entrants Most Vulnerable:
The study highlighted that the fresh entrants, first generation politicians, women from poor and religious minorities are likely to be most exploited in politics. For most of such women, husband’s support became necessary for protection against violence. Even, these women in politics may suffer from husbands if they are unable to perform their domestic responsibilities.
Dr Ranjana Kumari, director of the Centre for Social Research, who was part of the survey team, said that in the recent Assembly elections in many states, there were only a few woman contestant due to reasons sited above.