‘Women need to know and exercise their rights’
There are more than 50% women corporators. Do you think the working of the BMC will change?
Women have certain traditional sensibilities in areas of health, education and budgets. They are sensitive to expenditure at home as they manage everything in limited resources. Women can do everything except for jobs, which may need brute force. As for corruption, I cannot say whether women are less corrupt or more, but they have less time to be corrupt as they are getting many things done. The claim is of equality with men and not that we are better than men.
What do you think about allegations that proxies of male politicians have been fielded because of reservations?
That is a ridiculous argument. Dynastic politics is a reality apart from women’s reservation. In 1993 when 33% reservation for women came in place for the zilla parishad, initial candidates were relatives and token representatives. In the second term, we saw women’s self-help groups making an entry and by the third term women were contesting as normal candidates. If the question is whether women bring something different to the table, the answer is a resounding yes.
What should be women’s approach towards this opportunity?
Empowerment cannot be achieved with goodwill alone. They should know that there will be struggle. Political game playing is part of the job. Apply your mind. In a democracy, there are methods to deal with the problems. Know and exercise your rights. Every political party should conduct training in governance. Women should get trained, get professional.