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Women voters in Indian democracy: Whither strategy to implement Domestic Violence Act?

By Harasankar Adhikari 

According to the statistics of the Election Commission of India, the gender gap has been narrowed in terms of voter turnout in India, and women voters play an important role in the parliamentary election. It was almost equal in the 16th Lok Sabha Election ( male voter turnout was 67.09%, while female voter turnout was 65.30%). It was about 44 crore in 2019 (the 17th Lok Sabha Election). Historically, women voters influenced Indian politics.
It is seen that women in India are politically empowered, and they have their equal right to cast their democratic right without gender force theoretically, while practise tells the truth. Even the government has reserved 33% of seats for women in local self-government. But what would be the solution to the gender gap and gender discrimination in Indian society? Torture against women increases daily. It is evident that the status of women in Indian society still depends on and is determined by the male mentality towards women. Women are treated mostly as sexual objects, and they are still an easy component of sexual torture and violence.
Would the 18th Parliament assure the safety and security of women in India? Would it ensure equal rights and justice for women? Would it ensure equal pay for women for the same work? Because the 17th Parliament has felt it is necessary to meet the desired need and demand.
It is a shame that women's voter turnout and incidents of harassment against women in various forms are paralleled. According to the National Crime Records Bureau (2016), 39 women used to face violence every hour, and it is increasing. The report also stated that four women were victims of rape every hour. ‘Cruelty by the husband or his relatives’ is at an alarming stage. Sexual harassment of women in the workplace is remarkably in up-ward day by day.’ Where is the strategy for implementation of the Domestic Violence Act? Because women are still afraid to lodge any complaint.
Then, where is the democratic safe guard and protection for women in this largest democracy, while women's population has a great role in this democracy? Iswomen's protection meant by the enactment of laws only?
The government has taken the Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao, and others to deal proactively with discrimination against the girl child. Unfortunately, it is the government's publicity that it is working at best to consider the peaceful survival of women in India because 47% of the allotted fund has been expended for communication-related activities, while only 5% was for girls education. Gender budgeting is also significantly insufficient to protect this valuable section of India.
Surprisingly, women are not given priority in planning and programming for their development. It is dominated by men. Their participation and representation in politics, as well as in India’s democracy, are important changes. But it is mainly dominated by their male counterparts. Therefore, the whole system is under the control of men. The empowerment of women is not being ensured because the women are still dependents of a male attached to them. The prime focus of the reservation and participation of women at the grass-roots level would be policy functions and an election agenda. The females would be used as puppets for the males. So, an increasing rate of violence against women and a lack of proper justice would not reduce the need for a safe and secure space in society. So, gender discrimination was, is, and will be. As a result, the time has come to consider that the issue of gender space sharing is urgently required. The female population should think further before casting their votes. And the education women should take more seriously, it should be at the forefront.



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