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POLITICS AND RIGHTS OF WOMEN

POLITICS AND RIGHTS OF WOMEN

Abstract

Women’s rights are highly correlated with political and economic development. Currently, the inconsistency between the legal rights of women and men is much enormous in developing countries in comparison to developed. Anciently, in countries that were developing; women had few rights before economic and political development took off. There’s a doubt on whether the development caused expansion in women’s rights, or conversely, do women’s rights facilitate development? The literature on the political consequences of women’s rights documents that more rights would lead to benefit in development. The politics on the evolution of women’s rights discovers that technological change raised the costs of patriarchy for men which contributed to the spread of women’s rights. This article reports on global issues, obstacles in the right of women, policies in curbing the issue, judicial approach to women’s rights. To defeat these discussions, there is a need for strengthening social and political aspects of women globally.

Introduction

The expression ‘political participation has a broad meaning. It is not only talking about ‘Right to Vote’, but simultaneously associated with involvement in decision-making process, political activism, etc. In India, women participate in voting at lower levels more than men. Political activism and voting are the stronger aspects of women’s political participation. Gender equality is the heart of United Nations values.

Women’s turnout in India’s parliamentary general elections was 65.63%[1]. India ranked 20th from the bottom concerning the representation of women in Parliament. Women have held the posts of President, Prime Minister in India, and chief ministers of various states. Political transitions offer unique opportunities to address violations of women’s rights and promote the transformation of societal norms that promotes the subordinate position of women.

Pregalxmi Govender, Deputy Chairperson of the South African Human Rights Commission said that “The involvement of women in political change impacted on advancing human rights for everyone”.

A Global Tour

Globally, there are nearly 27 States with less than 10% of parliamentarians in single or lower houses for women also, in 2019 there were 3 chambers with no women at all. There is only 24.3% of all national parliamentarians were women which was a slow-moving increase from 11.3 % in 1995. In June 2019, 11 women were serving as Head of State also, 12 were serving as Head of Government. Rwanda had the highest number of women parliamentarians worldwide, where, women won 61.3% of seats in the lower house.

In Norway[2], an immediate relationship between the presence of women in municipal councils and childcare coverage was found. Immense variations remained in the average percentages of women parliamentarians in each region. In  February 2019[3], these were: Nordic countries, 42.5%; America, 30.6%; Europe excluding Nordic countries, 27.2%; Sub-Saharan Africa, 23.9 %; Asia, 19.8%, etc..

Recently a the rapid collapse has been witnessed of the Afghan military and the resignation of its government, with the Taliban returning to national power after around 20 years of conflict. The American diplomats and developmental officials are being evacuated from Kabul by the U.S. military, along with them thousands of Afghans are trying to escape from the country. The deal which was signed by the United States with Taliban in Doha on 29th February, 2020[4], has left the future of Afghan women completely on the outcomes of the intra-Taliban negotiations. How will the Afghanistan and its political order is redesigned is left fully dependent upon the negotiations between the Taliban and the Afghan government including other Afghan politicians, powerbrokers, and few other representatives of Afghan civil society.

Afghan political unity remains fragile. Most Afghans fiercely want peace[5], but on the other hand also want to safeguard the present constitutional system that has democracy, personal freedoms, and women’s rights. There is a well-built reasons to believe that the fate of the Afghan women, specifically the urban Afghan women from middle and upper-class families who were benefited far and away the foremost from the post 2001 order, will now get worsen. However, the Afghan government, strong headedly displeased the deal of the United States signed with the Taliban and dreading the prospect of the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan, continually uses the issue of women’s rights as a weapon to influence the United States to not to withdraw its forces even after May 2021[6] deadline set within the Doha agreement. For the time being, the Afghan government is actively seeking to delay and avoid negotiations with Taliban, hoping that the United States will reverse itself and comply with either retain the forces in Afghanistan for the approaching years or deploy them to fight the Taliban.

Obstacles in Right of Women

Earlier, in Indian society women were given respect but with the passage of time and life, the standard of women got worse and down to a huge extent. Women were perceived within the society to only perform the works and duties such as looking after kids, caring for each person in the family, and many other various family activities. There is a previous and former religion of individuals initiating from many years that men are basically for the fieldwork whereas women are for the household work.

Women were facing a lot of issues related to male domination, patriarchal society system, observe of recent former beliefs. Wherever women’s status has been improved a bit but still they’re facing issues in society. They are required to perform the family and skilled responsibilities along with the assistance of their husbands. The largest embodiment of the widespread resistance against female participation in the political field and aspects is the consistent opposition regarding the women’s reservation bills[7] which have been introduced and failed to pass in 1996, and the process continued in the following years as well 1998, 1999 and 2002.

In this day and age, women are breaking all the barriers of social norms, problems, and issues against them in society. They are forward and enjoying the equality of standard in the various fields attributable to being financially freelance and economically sound. At times, the condition of women becomes embarrassed when they get tortured by their relations rather than getting the facilitates. Harassment which possesses sexual nature is common at homes moreover within the offices by the relatives, friends, boss, etc. they need to handle loads in their existence to nourish their career.

The principle regarding gender sensitivity[8] can be improved only when women occupy leadership positions as parliamentarians. Furthermore, they may influence policy directions, change in procedure and practices also may provide a different perspective in debates. Women are breaking the ceiling in politics but at times they remain unheard and their work is side-lined. In many areas, they are only allowed to sit in women’s committees and are being pushed away from the other committees.

Policies in Curbing the Issue

Despite many positive developments, still many national laws discriminate against women. The Programme for Enhancing Rural Women’s Leadership and Participation in Nation Building in Timor-Leste (PERWL) is intended to enhance the capacity of women leaders and groups at the national and local levels.  GLP program (2016 – 2021)[9] is being executed by the Solidarity Center and promotes labor rights and access to justice for workers. The new award supported programs in Bangladesh, Burma, Ukraine, Morocco, Mexico , and regional programs in Asia, Eastern Europe, Southern Africa, etc. that covered activities in 31 countries.

UN charter consists of a provision for equality between men and women in chapter III, Article 8[10]. The Convention on the Political Rights is the first international legislation regarding the political rights of women. Its objective was to codify a basic international standard for women’s political rights. It has 122 state parties. The Council of Europe adopted the Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence in 2011.  CEDAW[11] was ratified by many of the world’s governments, into legal guarantees of gender equality. It was done to bring more women into government, train women leaders, and boost women’s skills to actively participate in elections as both candidates and voters.

In Cambodia, UN-supported women to participate in elections in 2002 and 2007. It supported the training by NGOs of around 12,000[12] women who contested in elections. Women secured 8% of the 11,352 seats available whereas in 2007 it was almost twice, securing almost 15% of the seats.

In Griswold v State of Connecticut[13], 1965 here, the Supreme Court found in favor of the constitutional right of married persons to use birth control. Many more cases were held regarding the rights of women and political stability for them such as Bhagwant Amarsingh Teli vs Mt. Manmati And Anr.[14], , Reed v Reed[15], Edward v A.G. of Canada[16] is a revolutionary case that established a Canadian woman’s ability to be appointed to the Senate.  The case discussed Section 24 of the British North America Act.  This provision raised the question of whether women were considered “persons” under the law.  It was held that they were not considered to be “persons” according to the British North America Act. They further appealed to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council of England. Here the decision given by Canada’s Supreme Court was reversed. Hence, it allowed the woman to be appointed to the Senate. Furthermore, this shift in the definition of ‘persons’ allowed them to assert that they could not be denied their basic human rights.

Conclusion

Despite the widespread democracy in most countries, women are under-rated at many levels of state, especially in ministerial and other executive bodies, and there’s touch progress in achieving political power. The equal distribution of power and decision-making is dependent on Governments undertaking gender analysis and perspective in policy development. Equality in decision-making is an essential part of empowering women.

Women can be powerful representatives for peace and prosperity. Participation of women in respect of decision-making can play an important role in initiating and inspiring progress on human rights, justice, and economic revitalization. Therefore, investing in women’s leadership is smart security and development.

[1] “Women’s Participation in India” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women%27s_political_participation_in_India#:~:text=Constitutional%20rights%20of%20women,-The%20Constitution%20of&text=The%20Government%20of%20India%20directed,raising%20the%20standard%20of%20living.

See also, “World Politics Review”, “Women’s Right and Gender Equality” (17th November,2020) https://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/series/9/women-s-rights-and-gender-equality

[2]R. Chattopadhyay and E. Duflo (2004). “Women as Policy Makers: Evidence from a Randomized Policy Experiment in India,” Econometrica 72(5), pp. 1409–1443; K. A. Bratton and L. P. Ray, 2002, “Descriptive Representation: Policy Outcomes and Municipal Day-Care Coverage in Norway,” American Journal of Political Science, 46(2), pp. 428–437

[3] “UN Women”, “Facts and Figures: Leadership and Political Participation” June, 2019 https://www.unwomen.org/en/what-we-do/leadership-and-political-participation/facts-and-figures

[4] “Wilson Center”, “The Deteriorating Situation in Afghanistan: Expertise from Wilson Center”, 16th August, 2021 available at: https://www.wilsoncenter.org/article/deteriorating-situation-afghanistan-expertise-wilson-center

[5] “United States Institute of Peace”, “Current Situation in Afghanistan” 15th March,2021 available at: https://www.usip.org/publications/2021/03/current-situation-afghanistan

[6] “The Fate of Women’s Right in Afghanistan” (September 2020) available athttps://www.brookings.edu/essay/the-fate-of-womens-rights-in-afghanistan/

[7] Vani Tripathi, “Challenges And The Way Forward For Women In Politics” 26th April, 2019

[8] “E-Discussions”, “Challenges for Women in Politics: The Glass Stealing Stereotypes in Terms of Portfolio Assignments” https://www.iknowpolitics.org/en/discuss/e-discussions/challenges-women-politics-glass-ceiling-stereotypes-terms-portfolio

[9] “USAID” “strengthening women’s rights and political participation” June 9, 2016 https://www.usaid.gov/what-we-do/gender-equality-and-womens-empowerment/addressing-gender-programming/strengthening-womens

[10] UN Charter, article 8

[11]“Poltical Youth Network”, “The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination” https://politicalyouthnetwork.org/womens-rights-why-are-womens-rights-important/

[12] “UN Women, Asia and the Pacific”, “political participation of women” https://asiapacific.unwomen.org/en/focus-areas/governance/political-participation-of-women

See also, Convention on Political Rights of Women, 193 U.N.T.S. 135” July 7, 1954

[13] Griswold v State of Connecticut

[14] Bhagwant Amarsingh Teli vs Mt. Manmati And Anr., AIR 1959, MP 249

[15] Reed v Reed, 404 U.S. 71

[16] Edward v A.G. of Canada

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Written by Kriti Jain

She is an Advocate and has that spark in her that influences people. She has a good hold in general awareness as well as legal awareness. In her opinion, writing is the best weapon to safeguard the rights of the people in society. Her hobby is to read landmarks as well as recent judgments to enhance her knowledge and skill.

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