Often judged, we still need to talk louder to be heard: Women politicos 

Women politicians at the India Today Conclave Mumbai felt that women need to be more conscious and push the boundaries to make themselves heard. 

Often judged, we still need to talk louder to be heard: Women politicos 

Despite holding important positions in the country, women politicians are often judged and have to talk louder to make themselves heard in a male-dominated arena, felt a panel of four women at the India Today Conclave Mumbai 2022 on Friday. 

BJP’s National Secretary Pankaja Gopinath Munde said: “Women have to talk louder to make ourselves heard… We are judged a lot. All gestures in a man that are praised, are frowned upon when they come from a woman. She is called aggressive and rebellious.” 

Priyanka Chaturvedi, Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha, said: “Women make far better politicians than men do. We need more women in Parliament to make it a more fun, equitable, and inclusive space. We are ensuring that men get used to women politicians.” 

Maharashtra MLA from the Congress, Praniti Shinde, said: “It gives a free pass when you are the child of a politician, especially before your first election. You have an advantage in a political family. But there is double the pressure and expectation as there is always a comparison and 24×7 public glare.” 

BJP MP Heena Gavit said: “It would have been better had I been a doctor. But winning an election against a nine-time MP meant double the work...” “Becoming an MP is more difficult as there is no fixed curriculum to follow,” said Heena Gavit, who became the youngest MP from Maharashtra at the age of 26 by defeating Manikram Gavit. 

Speaking about reservations for women in Parliament, Priyanka Chaturvedi said that women must have 50% of the seats. “How many seats are men willing to let go for women in Parliament. Women are coming out in larger numbers. So, there will be more women representatives in times to come,” she said. 

Women’s vote bank has become very important in the present times, said Pankaja Munde. She said that even male politicians are eyeing a chunk of that pie by bringing in several women-centric schemes. “Women's vote bank is very strong. But votes should be cast based on the ability of the candidate, not on gender. Everyone should vote for the best candidate,” she said when asked if women should vote for women. 

Congress’s Praniti Shinde, however, felt that it would be an uphill task as women politicians are “never taken seriously”. “Male politicians never take women politicians seriously. We have to work very hard to make ourselves heard. There is a mental block in accepting a woman as a leader… it is a societal issue. We have to be assertive and aggressive to make ourselves heard. It is the survival of the fittest.” 
Despite being hopeful of a rise in women parliamentarians soon, Priyanka Chaturvedi felt that women politicians are seldom on the same page on certain matters. “Unfortunately, we have not been able to get all women politicians, cutting across party lines on board on certain issues, specifically gender-based matters.” 

When asked about an oft-levelled allegation that the Shiv Sena is a male-dominated party, Priyanka Chaturvedi said: “It is baseless. Over 50% of the posts in the local bodies are held by women. They hold important positions in the party legislature. The largest chunk of our supporters comprises women.” 

She then went on to attack the Eknath Shinde-led government, saying there was no place for a woman in his faction. “This unconstitutional [Eknath Shinde-led] government has completely done away with women. There is no woman in the Cabinet. Even the women and child development minister is a man [Mangal Prabhat Lodha].”