“Today Norway has 45 percent women in parliament, however the road has been long. The change came when women united and voted for women” said Ambassador Hans Jacob Frydenlund when he spoke about Norway’s journey towards gender equality in politics at the closing ceremony of the Women in Government Fellowship workshop on Gender Parity in Indian Politics in New Delhi today.
The event was concluded with a panel discussion between prominent political leaders moderated by Sunetra Choudhury (National Political Editor, Hindustan Times). It was emphasized by the panellists Jebi Mather (Rajya Sabha MP, Congress), Dr Sasmit Patra (Rajya Sabha MP, Biju Janata Dal), Charu Pragya ( BJP Spokesperson), and Angellica Aribam (Femme First Foundation) that the challenges of women in politics are multifold. The road ahead lies in solidarity across political ideologies to give women equal representation in governance.
Congress Rajya Sabha MP, Jebi Mather spoke about the challenges that women face in politics and advised the aspiring women politicians to be resilient. She also highlighted the recent decision by her political party to give 50 percent reservation to women, youth, and other marginalised communities in all party positions.
Dr Sasmit Patra, Rajya Sabha MP from the Biju Janata Dal, talked about the verbal attacks he receives from fellow male parliamentarians for being vocal about the women’s reservation bill. He emphasised that “Allyship of male gender counterparts is crucial to achieving gender parity in politics”.
Charu Pragya, BJP spokesperson said, “It’s unfortunate that women believe they need to man-up to be taken seriously in politics. Politics is a reflection our society and until society doesn’t change, there will not be equal representation”.
In the absence of gender quotas in legislative bodies, founder of Femme First Foundation, Angellica Aribam talked about the importance of platforms that encourages and groom women to become politicians.
Equal gender representation is crucial for the overall development of society. Norway supports work towards ensuring equal participation of women and men in political life. Today the Norwegian embassy in collaboration with the Femme First Foundation (FFF) hosted the closing ceremony of the Women in Government Fellowship workshop on Gender Parity in Indian Politics in New Delhi. Aribam founded Femme First Foundation in 2019 as a result of the misogyny that she faced as a woman politician. FFF seeks to enhance and improve the quality of political participation of women in India.