It is sad that this explanation is necessary, but with AAP vounteers cannibalizing the credibility of their own women leaders to somehow prove them not required in the cabinet, this post becomes necessary.
To a bunch of people conditioned to respond to any issue of identity with assumptions of special favors and handouts, it may come as a surprise that when you speak of the top of an organization (which a government is), it is more about responsible team selection than favors.
A diverse city needs diverse perspectives to understand thoroughly. There is a HUMAN aspect, not just “competence” at churning out and implementing ideas. A person who has an experience of being a religious minority is more likely to spot potential problems that could impact religious minorities because life has given them that lens. A person who is from a caste that has known being treated as inferior is likely to have more practical suggestions to empowerment than someone who has not suffered disempowerment and approaches it as a conceptual problem – albeit with phenomenal “merit”.
Similarly a woman is likely to have instinctive feel if something would or would not suit a woman’s realities than a man. It is no coincidence that all those jokes about men not understanding their wives and all the complaints of insensitivity from men happen. Men and women see the world with different perspectives. What can seem normal to a man can be a problem to women and vice versa. Not having a woman on board opens up potential for costly mistakes too, since humans doing the delivering don’t matter so much as efficiency in delivering.
Does this mean that you can cover the whole diversity of Delhi with six people? Of course not. But is it necessary to at least attempt to cover large chunks broadly? Damn right it is. If a chunk of 46% is not represented, the decision making body is POORER QUALITY because the risk of their decisions being potentially not efficient goes up.
Also the arguments that women would prefer to be chosen for merit rather than gender – or vice versa – that women should not be chosen for gender are both irrelevant.
Should a single woman have preference over a man because of her gender? No. Should a team with no women on it go out of its way to choose one? Yes. Is it insulting to that woman to be chosen because of her gender? I don’t think so.
If I were part of a team that had to send six participants to do a physical task – the nature of which we didn’t know. And the leader chose participants for various qualities like say…. speed, strength, heavy weight, light weight, tall and short. I may be a superb strategist or I may not be as “efficient” as others on the team or I would never want to get a job for my short height – but if I bring in a quality the team needs, should I do it? Damn right. It is responsibility. It would be absurd to call this a handout.
The cabinet is a team setting out to rule Delhi. No one has an idea of what competencies the team was chosen for, so I would not comment. But if 46% of the “challenge conditions” will think in a certain manner people on my team don’t, would I choose someone who thought like them? Damn right I would. It would be a competence, not handout. Not tokenism, not symbolism. It would be the right thing to do, because when facing unknown challenges, that person would have familiarity with something the others don’t. Would it matter whether that person wanted to be selected for her being a woman? If I were a leader? No. It would be her responsibility to put her ego aside and be there because she was a woman and the team needed a woman because 46% of the target citizens were women.
This isn’t a handout. This is responsible team choosing. If the cabinet is indeed chosen for merit, then the parameters are incorrectly set if they leave such a large target group unrepresented. Apart from this being unfair to the women of Delhi, it makes for a poorer quality cabinet.
‘Look at “XYZ woman politician” women shouldn’t be on cabinet’
It is not just absurd logic (there are bad male politicians too. Keep the cabinet empty) it is extremely insulting to the women MLAs as well as AAP by implying that AAP women are no better than those you hold in contempt. It basically exposes your misogyny – to put it mildly – apart from making you sound insane.
Can you cover every minority? Why not Sikh, Christian, OBCs, tribals and my dabbawala?
Ideally, you would have all represented, but it may not be possible in such a small cabinet. You could exaggerate it to ridiculous levels, but if you are aiming to understand instead of just trivialize an issue as important as this, it is possible to understand. The attempt must be to have perspectives that can at least understand some of the disadvantage, if not completely. Any minority person is more likely to understand issues of religious sensitivity. Any lower caste person is likely to be aware of hierarchies better than someone who has never been seen as socially inferior for fact of birth. Similarly, there are a thousand different ways women think, but a woman is still more likely to understand them than a man. Failing a woman, a member of the LGBT community could be included (if the women really were so terrible and you hid it during the campaign) – another example of not “reserving for women” but still achieving a perspective on gender bias related disadvantages.
One counter question for you. How are you certain that the six cabinet members selected are not handouts? Are handouts given only to women?