Women politicians in India, Pak face violence, threats: Study

From kidnapping, physical assault and sexual harassment to threats, abuse and character assassination, women politicians in India, Pakistan and Nepal face hostility and aggression as they fight to be heard in the political arena, a United Nations-backed study said.
By HT Correspondent | Reuters, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAY 01, 2014 02:23 PM IST

From kidnapping, physical assault and sexual harassment to threats, abuse and character assassination, women politicians in India, Pakistan and Nepal face hostility and aggression as they fight to be heard in the political arena, a United Nations-backed study said on Wednesday.



The study, the first of its kind in South Asia, said the attacks came not only from opposing parties' candidates but also from colleagues in their own party, demoralising budding female politicians so much that many are put off joining the male-dominated profession.



"What we found was shocking. Even though all three countries guarantee strong constitutional rights to equality, women face terrible forms of violence," Rebecca Reichmann Tavares, head of UN Women in India, told a news conference.



"What's more - physical violence, verbal abuse and threats of violence were higher for women in politics in India than in Pakistan or Nepal."



The study, conducted by the Delhi-based think-tank Centre for Social Research (CSR), surveyed 800 people in the three countries, mainly serving politicians or women who had lost elections at federal, state and village levels from 2003 to 2013.



Researchers also interviewed political party campaigners, police, election commission officials and family members of female politicians.



Gender experts say that among many women's issues that need to be addressed in South Asia, one of the most important is to ensure that women have a voice in the highest seats of power.



Gender equality in Parliament and village councils would empower women in general, they say. A stronger women's voice at the top would have a trickle-down effect, leading to laws and policies that would help grassroots women fight abuse, discrimination and inequality.



While the percentage of registered female voters and women candidates fielded by political parties has increased in all three countries, the percentage of female representatives in national bodies has decreased, the study said.



Women hold only 11% of the seats in India's lower and upper houses combined, according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) - half the global average of 21.4%. Female representation in Pakistan and Nepal is higher at 21% and 29.9% respectively.



Molestation, Photoshopped images


The study found that across the region, most victims were women who were young, new to politics, or first generation politicians, and the commonest experience was that of men expecting sexual favours - for example, in return for being selected as a candidate for a particular constituency.



Character assassination was used to damage the reputation and achievements of women in politics with the aim of reducing their popular support.



"When men fail to find fault in women's activities or progress, they raise questions about women's chastity," the study quoted the former Nepali male politician Netra Prasad Panthi as saying.



Threats, kidnapping, and emotional and sexual harassment were among the other forms of violence cited by women candidates. Forty-five percent of women candidates in India faced physical violence and threats, it said, compared with 21% in Pakistan and 16% in Nepal.



In India, few women have spoken publicly about the forms of intimidation they face, but media reports on the current general election have given examples, researchers said.



Women on the campaign trail have complained of being pawed by fellow politicians as well as crowds, of sexual slurs and of being forcefully kissed as they canvass for votes.



Despite being surrounded by bouncers, Nagma, a female Congress Party candidate, was grabbed and kissed by a fellow party member and molested by another man in the crowd whom she slapped on camera.



A candidate from the Aam Aadmi Party, Gul Panag, had her picture photoshopped and her party emblem placed in a provocative position.



The study said that in Pakistan, several senior women politicians such as Nilofar Bakhtyar, Hina Rabani Khar and Sherry Rehman have had negative rumours spread about their character - and have had no statement of support or condemnation of the rumour-mongering from their party.



Not supported by police, judiciary


Overall, the hostility to women politicians stems from the patriarchal mindset in their countries, where women are expected to be subservient home makers and child bearers rather than equals making important political decisions in what men see as a male bastion.



This situation has been made worse by poor implementation of laws, lack of support from the police and judiciary and the absence of political education, the study said.



The result is that women are becoming afraid of going into politics, researchers said, adding that almost 90% of women surveyed felt that they had lost their desire to enter or continue in politics.



The study called on the Pakistani and Indian governments to pass a law guaranteeing women at least 33% of the seats in state and national assemblies.



Laws must be passed and those abusing women politicians should be punished, it said, and political parties should set up mechanisms to punish members responsible for any form of violence against women candidates.



"Violence against women is institutionalised through family structures, wider social and economic frameworks and cultural and religious traditions and is a widely accepted method for controlling women," said CSR Director Ranjana Kumari.



"Moreover, it is largely overlooked by law enforcement agencies and is ignored by those in power."

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
app
Close
Union minister Smriti Irani, S Jaishankar shared photos with their daughters on the occasion of national Girl Child Day. (Photo: Twitter)
Union minister Smriti Irani, S Jaishankar shared photos with their daughters on the occasion of national Girl Child Day. (Photo: Twitter)

Smriti Irani, Jaishankar post photos with daughters on National Girl Child Day

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Poulomi Ghosh
UPDATED ON JAN 24, 2021 11:47 AM IST
My daughters are my pride, wrote Smriti Irani while S Jaishankar wrote how proud he feels of his daughter's achievements.
Close
Manipur CM N Biren Singh(FIle HT Photo)
Manipur CM N Biren Singh(FIle HT Photo)

Manipur CM urges Centre to fence undisputed stretch of Indo-Myanmar border

By Sobhapati Samom | Edited by Abhinav Sahay, Imphal
PUBLISHED ON JAN 24, 2021 11:41 AM IST
  • CM Biren Singh also requested Union home minister Amit Shah to introduce a special scheme to provide poppy growers in the state with alternative livelihood options.
Close
Health worker collects swab from sadhus at Covid-19 test centre of Gangasagar Transit camp in Kolkata.(HT File Photo)
Health worker collects swab from sadhus at Covid-19 test centre of Gangasagar Transit camp in Kolkata.(HT File Photo)

India’s Covid-19 tally soars past 10.65 million with 14,849 new cases

By hindustantimes.com | Written by Kanishka Sarkar, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 24, 2021 11:36 AM IST
In the last eight days since the nationwide inoculation drive began, 1,582,201 healthcare workers have been vaccinated, the health ministry said.
Close
A medical worker (R) inoculates a medical staff with a Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine at the Manipal Hospital, in New Delhi on January 19, 2021. (Photo by Money SHARMA / AFP)(AFP)
A medical worker (R) inoculates a medical staff with a Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine at the Manipal Hospital, in New Delhi on January 19, 2021. (Photo by Money SHARMA / AFP)(AFP)

Delhi reported 1,310 Covid-19 cases in 6 days, caseload over 6.33 lakh

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Shivani
PUBLISHED ON JAN 24, 2021 11:35 AM IST
On Monday, the number of daily Covid-19 cases was at 161 which was the lowest in nearly nine months. It spiked a little on Friday when the national capital recorded 266 infections in 24 hours.
Close
Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a video conference in New Delhi.(ANI)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a video conference in New Delhi.(ANI)

On National Girl Child Day, PM Modi salutes women, their accomplishments

By hindustantimes.com | Written by Susmita Pakrasi, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 24, 2021 11:13 AM IST
  • India observes National Girl Child day every year on January 24. The day is an initiative of the ministry of women and child development and aims to spread awareness about gender inequality in Indian society and challenge gender stereotypes.
Close
A healthcare worker gets the Covid-19 vaccine shot at the BKC vaccination centre on January 16. (HT FILE)
A healthcare worker gets the Covid-19 vaccine shot at the BKC vaccination centre on January 16. (HT FILE)

India added 82,760 Covid-19 cases, recorded over 900 deaths in a week

By hindustantimes.com | Written by Meenakshi Ray, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 24, 2021 10:56 AM IST
The number of active cases of Covid-19 remained below 200,000 for five days in a row from Wednesday to Sunday. It was 208,012 on Monday and 200,528 on Tuesday, according to the health ministry's data.
Close
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Saturday predicted that snowfall is very likely in Jammu and Kashmir.(HT Photo)
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Saturday predicted that snowfall is very likely in Jammu and Kashmir.(HT Photo)

Yellow alert avalanche warning issued for higher reaches of J-K

ANI
PUBLISHED ON JAN 24, 2021 10:28 AM IST
Jammu and Kashmir is witnessing a 40-day long period of harsh winter cold the 'Chillai Kalan', which will end on January 31.
Close
Till Saturday, a total of 15,37,190 beneficiaries were vaccinated through 27,776 sessions, as per the provisional report of the Government of India.(AP)
Till Saturday, a total of 15,37,190 beneficiaries were vaccinated through 27,776 sessions, as per the provisional report of the Government of India.(AP)

6,000 healthcare workers vaccinated against Covid-19 in Army's Southern Command

ANI
PUBLISHED ON JAN 24, 2021 10:26 AM IST
Briefing the media, Mohanty said, "We have prioritised our vaccination drives. Our healthcare workers in military hospitals are providing sustained support. We have started administering the vaccine to our health workers. Around 6,000 of them have been vaccinated so far."
Close
BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj in Lucknow on Wednesday. (ANI Photo)(ANI)
BJP MP Sakshi Maharaj in Lucknow on Wednesday. (ANI Photo)(ANI)

Neither Mahatma Gandhi nor Nehru was as popular as Bose: Sakshi Maharaj

ANI
UPDATED ON JAN 24, 2021 10:39 AM IST
While addressing a public rally here, BJP MP said, "My allegation is that Congress got Subhas Chandra Bose killed....neither Mahatma Gandhi nor Pandit Nehru could stand in front of his popularity."
Close
Bihar Election Results 2020: Voters undergoing thermal screening at a polling booth as they stand in queues to cast their votes for the second phase of the Bihar Assembly Election, in Begusarai.(ANI)
Bihar Election Results 2020: Voters undergoing thermal screening at a polling booth as they stand in queues to cast their votes for the second phase of the Bihar Assembly Election, in Begusarai.(ANI)

Explained: When is National Voters Day? What’s the theme this year?

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Kanishka Sarkar, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 24, 2021 09:54 AM IST
New voters are felicitated and handed over their Elector Photo Identity Card (EPIC) in the National Voters Day functions.
Close
The objective of celebrating National Girl Child day is to highlight the inequalities faced by girls in the country.(Himanshu Vyas/ Hindustan Times)
The objective of celebrating National Girl Child day is to highlight the inequalities faced by girls in the country.(Himanshu Vyas/ Hindustan Times)

National Girl Child Day: Theme, importance, significance

By hindustantimes.com | Written by Mallika Soni
PUBLISHED ON JAN 24, 2021 09:47 AM IST
According to a government press release, National Girl Child day 2021 is being celebrated across the country with the objective of raising awareness on the issue of declining Child Sex Ratio (CSR).
Close
Farmers from all across the country are marching towards Delhi in order to take part in 'Kisan Gantantra Parade' on the occasion of Republic Day. Tractors from Punjab, Haryana, and Rajasthan have reached on Tikri border.(ANI)
Farmers from all across the country are marching towards Delhi in order to take part in 'Kisan Gantantra Parade' on the occasion of Republic Day. Tractors from Punjab, Haryana, and Rajasthan have reached on Tikri border.(ANI)

Farmers march from Nashik to Mumbai to take part in 'Kisan Gantantra Parade'

ANI
PUBLISHED ON JAN 24, 2021 09:29 AM IST
The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) has asked the farmers to take part in the agitation from January 23 to 26, including rallies to the Governors of states.
Close
Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina before their bilateral talk, at Hyderabad House.(Mohd Zakir/HT PHOTO)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina before their bilateral talk, at Hyderabad House.(Mohd Zakir/HT PHOTO)

How Dhaka got vaccines from India after China asked it to share trial costs

By Shishir Gupta, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JAN 24, 2021 11:46 AM IST
India, in sharp contrast, sent a gift of two million doses of Covishield vaccine to Dhaka on January 21 as well as facilitated a commercial contract of 30 million doses with the Pune-based SII.
Close
Fog seen engulfed during the early hours of the morning in New Delhi. (Sanchit Khanna/ HT Photo)
Fog seen engulfed during the early hours of the morning in New Delhi. (Sanchit Khanna/ HT Photo)

News updates from Hindustan Times: Cold wave and all the latest news

By hindustantimes.com
PUBLISHED ON JAN 24, 2021 08:54 AM IST
Here are today’s top news, analysis and opinion. Know all about the latest news and other news updates from Hindustan Times.
Close
The problem of child pornography on the internet and social media has increased during the pandemic, says an expert. (iStockphoto/Representative Image)
The problem of child pornography on the internet and social media has increased during the pandemic, says an expert. (iStockphoto/Representative Image)

Sharp rise in child pornography cases worry experts

By Ramesh Babu | Edited by Abhinav Sahay, Thiruvananthapuram
PUBLISHED ON JAN 24, 2021 08:47 AM IST
  • Kerala seems to have made considerable progress in tackling the menace, statistics show.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP