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Bengaluru: Uphill task for women to enter poll battles

In one of the panel discussions the wide issue of the low representation of women in Houses was discussed.

Bengaluru: Uphill task for women to enter poll battles
KPCC Vice President Kavitha Reddy, Former Minister Motamma, Journalist Vasanthi Hariprakash at India Women's Caucus Meeting in Bengaluru on Saturday (Photo: KPN)

Bengaluru: In a day-long event, women politicians, political aspirants, mediapersons and political researchers came together to discuss the way forward for women in the 2019 General Elections.

Hosted by Shakti a group of non-partisan women who have joined hands with the long-term goal of enabling more women to get elected as MLAs and MPs across parties, the event included a keynote speech, panel discussions, and interactions between women across political affiliations.

Tara Krishnaswamy, convener of the Bengaluru event, welcomed the gathering and pointed out that this was the first non-partisan national convention of women interested in politics in India, making history.

“We are here because we have only 9 percent women MLAs and 11 percent women MPs. We have plenty of evidence to show that women are interested in politics. Voters want women. The question is, are we willing to give that to them?”

In one of the panel discussions the wide issue of the low representation of women in Houses was discussed.

Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee Vice President Kavitha Reddy said, “Sometimes it does not matter if you get 50 or 500 votes. Contesting is important. How much more groundwork can you do so that the party cannot deny you a ticket the next time. It is not only about winning … women in politics have to keep fighting. Even if you lose, you participate as the opposition and continue to ask questions.”

During a panel discussion on whether party structures impede women, BJP spokesperson Malavika Avinash said, "The fight for space within the party reduces you to two things caste and cash. What then is the way forward? Reservation is the only way.”

Ruth Manorama JD (S) candidate for Lok Sabha said, “I have no fathers, uncles or boyfriends in the party. Party structures are not women-friendly, they are completely patriarchal. Major decisions are taken elsewhere, and the women just have to accept them. There are capable women, but party structures make no room for them.”

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