Share of women & Youth In State Assemblies

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    In Context 

    Recent data from West Bengal, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, show fewer numbers of women and youth Member of Legislative Assemblies (MLAs).

    Major Highlights 

    • The age and gender profiles of 3 of the newly elected Assemblies also show that the share of women MLAs is unchanged in West Bengal, has grown slightly in Kerala, and fallen in Tamil Nadu.
    • The data from the results of 2019 Lok Sabha elections also shows the low participation of women.
      • According to a list compiled by the Inter-Parliamentary Union in 2019, India ranks 153 out of 190 nations in the percentage of women in the lower house of world parliaments.
    • West Bengal has more young MLAs than earlier while the other two Assemblies have less than 10% MLAs under 40.
      • This has been a continuing trend in state elections.

     

                           Image courtesy :IE

    Reasons Low Participation Of Women 

    • Lack of confidence and finance: Lack of confidence and finance were the other major deterring factors that prevented women from entering politics.
    • Illiteracy: It is one of the main hurdles in making women politically empowered. Women candidates have less education and experience, on average, compared to male candidates
    • Gender Disparities: Gender inequalities in terms of education, ownership of resources and continual biased attitudes still act as barriers for women leaders.
    • Societal and cultural norms:They are imposed on women bar them from entering politics.
      • They have to accept the dictates imposed on them and bear the burden of society.
    • Sexual division of labour: A system in which all work inside the home is either done by the women of the family or organised by them through the domestic helpers. 
      • It means that women spend far more time than men in the home- and child-care.
    • Slander and abuse: This is one of the main reasons that women stay away from contesting elections which they face during campaigns. The other reason cited is lack of safety.

    Reasons For Less Participation of Youth MLAs

    • Inexperience: It is believed that youth lacked experience in politics therefore they are not given opportunities in politics 
    • Seriousness: Most of the parties believe that young people will not be taken seriously as compared to older ones by the public during elections campaigns.
    • Occupied position: Older politicians are not leaving their position therefore it becomes challenging for young people to get involved in politics.
    • Unethical practices: Unethical practices have become the norm in politics therefore youths started avoiding it 
    • Nepotism: It plays a major role and many youths who become successful politicians belong to influential political families.

    Government Steps For

    Women 

    • The Women’s Reservation Bill( 2008)(108th amendment) has also been introduced in the national Parliament to reserve 33 per cent of the Lok Sabha seats for women
    • In addition to this, Article 46 imposes a duty on the state to protect weaker sections from social injustice and all forms of exploitation. 
    • Article 14, which established the right to equality as a fundamental right, inevitably mandates for equal opportunity, which is reflected in Article 15(3)
    • India is a signatory to the Convention for Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, which obliges states to take appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in political and public life and, in particular, to ensure that women are as eligible as men to contest elections to all public bodies.
      • They have the right to participate in contributing to government policy and its implementation.
    • Article 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which is binding on signatory states including India, says that “every citizen shall have the right and the opportunity, without any of the distinctions mentioned in article 2 and without unreasonable restrictions to vote and to be elected at genuine periodic elections 

    Youth 

    • National Youth Parliament Festival: It is organised by National Service Scheme (NSS) and Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS) under the aegis of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports to:
      • Hear the voice of youth in this age bracket of 18-25 who are allowed to vote but cannot contest in elections.
      • Encourage the youth to engage with public issues, understand the common man’s point of view, form their opinion and express these in an articulate manner.
    • National Youth Parliament Scheme: The Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs has been implementing the Youth Parliament programme since 1966.
      • To strengthen the roots of democracy, inculcate healthy habits of discipline, tolerance of the view of others and to enable the student community to know about practices and procedures of the Parliament..

    Way Forward 

    • 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 issue of gender-based violence and provision of safety and security of women should also be addressed on a priority basis to promote gender equality in the social and political arenas.
    • It is the need of the hour in a country like India to have equal participation of all the sections of society in mainstream political activity therefore necessary steps should be taken to promote it.
    • Considering legally-backed youth and women quotas reserved for youth and women or a specified proportion of young candidates all registered parties contesting an election must field.
      • Society needs to deconstruct the stereotype of women as limited to household activities only.

    Source :IE