Sharad Pawar, an Indian politician and the current leader of the Nationalist Congress Party, recently stated that when he was in the government, he faced opposition to pro-women decisions. The veteran politician believes that patriarchy is deeply entrenched in Indian society and that many people in power are resistant to change.
Pawar, who has served in various government positions, including Minister of Agriculture and Minister of Defense, has been a vocal advocate for women’s rights throughout his political career. He has taken a number of steps to empower women and promote gender equality, including introducing measures to boost women’s participation in politics and supporting legislation aimed at protecting women from sexual harassment and violence.
However, despite his best efforts, Pawar says that he often faced resistance from within the government and from society at large. According to him, many people in positions of power are reluctant to give up their privilege and share power with women.
One example Pawar cites is his experience in trying to increase the representation of women in parliament. Despite a constitutional provision that reserves one-third of the seats in local government bodies for women, many states have continued to flout this rule. When Pawar tried to enforce this provision, he was met with opposition from state leaders who resisted ceding power to women.
Another instance that Pawar recalls is his attempt to pass a bill aimed at preventing sexual harassment in the workplace. He faced opposition from some of his colleagues who argued that the bill was unnecessary and that sexual harassment was not a widespread problem in India. Pawar was eventually able to get the bill passed, but not without a hard-fought battle.
Pawar’s experiences are not unique. Women’s issues have long been a contentious subject in Indian politics, and progress has been slow. Despite some gains, such as the increasing number of women in parliament, women continue to face discrimination and violence in many parts of the country.
For example, crimes against women have been on the rise in recent years. A report from the National Crime Records Bureau found that crimes against women increased by 7.3 percent in 2019, with over 4 lakh cases reported. Many cases are never reported or investigated, leaving women feeling vulnerable and unprotected.
Traditionally, Indian society has been patriarchal, with men holding the bulk of the power and decision-making authority. While this is slowly changing, it is clear that there are still many who resist efforts to promote gender equality.
Pawar acknowledges that more needs to be done to address these issues. In a recent interview, he said that progress would require a major shift in attitudes and beliefs among people in power. He called for greater education and awareness-raising efforts to help change social norms and promote gender equality.
In particular, Pawar stressed the important role that women’s participation in politics can play in promoting change. He said that having more women in positions of power, both in government and in civil society, can help to challenge the status quo and promote progressive policies.
Pawar’s comments come at a time when women’s issues are at the forefront of public attention in India. The recent rape and murder of a young woman in Hyderabad has sparked outrage and calls for action to address violence against women. In response, the government has promised to strengthen laws to protect women and improve policing and judicial processes.
While this is a step in the right direction, many activists and politicians, including Pawar, say that much more needs to be done. They argue that systemic change is required to address the deep-seated attitudes and behaviors that contribute to violence and discrimination against women.
In conclusion, Sharad Pawar’s experiences as a politician in India demonstrate the challenges that exist when it comes to promoting women’s rights and gender equality. While progress has been made in some areas, much more needs to be done to address pervasive patriarchal attitudes and promote change. Pawar’s calls for greater education and awareness-raising efforts, as well as increased women’s participation in politics, offer a roadmap for how India can move forward in promoting gender equality and ending violence against women.