A woman by the name of Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi was once called a “dumb doll” that the male leaders of congress believed they could control. This is the very same woman who in 1961 launched India’s pursuit for nuclear weapons and battled male oppression in order to cement herself as possibly one of the most powerful politicians of the 20th century. However, many considered a high ranking Indian woman to be a mere anomaly, but take a look into India’s table of hierarchy in the 21st century and women have cemented themselves into positions of power.
Sonia Gandhi is the leader of the Indian National Congress party(INC). As the ruling party in India and the largest party, Sonia Gandhi in many ways can be seen to be one of the most powerful people in India and most certainly the most powerful woman.
Pratibha Patil (INC) is the president of Inida.
Meira Kumar (INC) is the Speaker of the Parliament.
Sushma Swaraj is the leader of the opposition (BJP).
Then if we look at the recent elections; the founder of the 6th largest party in India, All India Trinamool Congress, Mamta Banerjee wrested control from a Communist Party that had been in control of West Bengal for 3 decades in a landslide victory. Ms. Banerjee has fought male oppression without the backing of familial finances or an established dynasty. Instea, through street politics, debate and an unyielding determination she has grown into the role of an all powerful woman.
Alongside her, Ms. Dixit reigns over India’s capital Delhi, while Mayawati rules Uttar Pradesh. Together; Ms. Banerjee, Ms. Dixit and Mayawati account for nearly a third of India’s population.
The truly amazing thing about the rise of women in Indian Politics is the fact that even now, India still witnesses an overwhelming and frightening gender imbalance, with women still being kept in doors in many rural parts of the nation. This led to the question; does it really matter if women are in roles of power?
I believe it does. In a booming economy, if women are seen to spearhead the growth of the country, the example they set is regarded by the whole nation as an influential impact. This will inevitably lead to a fall in the number of girls who drop out from school and will allow women of all ages and situations to pursue their ambitions as opposed to bury them in grains of rice that they make for their dominant counterparts.
It is time to acknowledge the achievement of women within India and ensure this wind of change continues to billow with strength. In the meanwhile, I advise you against any more sexist jokes for chauvinism might land you in trouble.