Patriarchal elections

Supriya Nair’s feature, headlined “Empty Promises,” in the May edition of The Caravan highlights the contrast between the apparent assimilation of women’s issues into campaign rhetoric – to a degree rarely seen in previous elections – and the reality on the ground, with respect to “gender hatred” in political discourse, the marginalisation of “women’s empowerment” as an election issue (even though it ranked among the top issues on people’s minds in several states, according to a major survey of 2014 voters), the number of women contesting elections, the gender gap in first-time voters, the rural-urban gap in perceptions about the importance of women’s rights, etc.  The wide-ranging article refers to recent research on women and politics, including surveys by the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies that indicate a growing tendency among women across India to prefer parties headed by women.  The story also mentions initiatives by Indian feminists in different parts of the country to draw attention to women’s rights, and to hold politicians accountable with regard to gender issues.

Ammu Joseph


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