New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern’s resignation spotlights the hard choices that women in politics often face

Source– The post is based on the article “New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern’s resignation spotlights the hard choices that women in politics often face” published in The Indian Express on 24th January 2023.

Syllabus: GS2- Polity

Relevance– Women in politics

News– The article explains the challenges faced by women in politics.

What are the issues faced by women in politics all over the world?

Women leaders, even in some of the most developed countries, find it difficult to break the glass ceiling to the top post. If women manage to lead, they find it incredibly hard to sustain campaigns in male-dominated politics and societies.

Last year, in  Finland PM Sanna Marin was trolled, vilified and mocked. She was forced to undergo a drug test after photos of her hosting a party at her home went viral on social media.

In comparison,  there were muted reactions to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson partying during the Covid lockdown.

The choices for women leaders are often seen in binary terms, between their personal lives and professional aspirations. There are very few women who were not forced to make a choice and balance the two. The women who manage to strike a balance are often referred to as “superwoman”.

When women secure high political office, it is often considered the result of a pathway laid by fathers, husbands or other male figures in the family.

What is the scenario of India?

India has had two women presidents and a prime minister. But, there is still a lack of equal representation of women in positions of power.

The representation of women in Parliament and assemblies is dismal. The dropout rate of women workers in political organisations is alarming.

Women politicians have neither an understanding society, nor the support mechanism that would encourage them to view politics as a career. They do not get the required support to help them balance family responsibilities and work.

Financial constraints and career uncertainties are other reasons for women choosing to drop out of political spaces.

What is the way forward for women in politics?

Women should not feel constrained to make a choice between personal and professional lives. There is a need to create a social environment conducive to mental health priorities.

The need for a temporary break for attaining personal goals should not translate into a disruption in careers for women leaders.

We need to evolve as a society, where pursuit of success should not be seen in binary choices of personal and professional responsibilities.

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