The Aam Aadmi Party made a huge deal out of women’s safety. Women were among those campaigning for AAP on the streets. Taking out rallys. Yet the 46% of women voters are represented by less than 10% of MLAs and NO ONE in the cabinet – where most of the power of the government resides.
This is not an accident. It is impossible that Arvind Kejriwal did not realize that there was no woman on his cabinet. It was also brought to his attention. This is deliberate.
I have been bringing this up on social media over the last two days and here are some reasons/responses/excuses I got defending this all male cabinet and why I don’t think they wash.
No one should be chosen for gender
Well, there is a Muslim and Dalit on the cabinet. And that is a good thing. But I doubt that they were chosen by accident. So the larger question is why AAP sees a need to show some vote banks a visible represenation but not women who comprise almost half of all voters and voted overwhelmingly for AAP? Their votes got taken for granted and no power needs to be given to their representatives? If no one can be chosen for gender, no one can be excluded for gender either. When there is not a single woman on board, the question is less about choosing for gender and time to ask if the exclusion was for gender.
Even having Muslim and dalit is wrong only capability should be seen not tokenism
If you assume that the natural owners of power are Hindu upper caste men, then them including others is “tokenism” and a handout. If you are choosing to form a team to govern a diverse city, minorities of religion, caste and gender bring with them practical experiences of realities and problems faced by various identities that are not as obvious to the “majority”. This is good team formation, not favors done to anyone. If you are ruling a diverse city, perspectives on its diversity are COMPETENCE – not handouts and tokenism and symbolism. To call them thus basically implies that they have no right to power and the default inheritors of power are upper caste Hindu men and anyone else getting it must have to earn it.
Men handling women and children ministry is refreshing
Sure it is. I never said you need a woman cabinet minister to serve as some custodian of the harem. Even if there are women on the cabinet, a man can handle the Women and Children portfolio, though it may take some juggling to manage when dealing with sensitive situations. The presence of a woman brings a perspective on realities of women that is an extremely relevant competence when you made a big fuss of your “womanifesto”.
An all male cabinet tasked with delivering women’s safety is like a bachelor advising women on how many children they should have. Or an all women’s team designing the city’s toilets including urinals for men. The logic and intent may be there, but what do they even know about the realities? How many of the cabinet ministers get stalked or groped or catcalled just because they happen to be men?
This is something every woman faces – not just specially designated victims. It is relevant to women’s safety. Women are the most affected by issues of water shortage – another huge point on AAP’s manifesto. Women form the majority of people ferrying water to households, the majority of people using water for household work. Women are the people most involved with caring for children and the sick. They are the ones who birth babies. They form a huge chunk of those interacting with the healthcare system. Women are disproportionately higher among those taking charge of their children’s education. They are those who juggle household budgets and most impacted by prices of food or fuel on the aam aadmi level.
They thus have significantly different challenges from men and thus priorities and a completely different way of looking at problems and solutions because of that. They will have a different approach and perspective on policies . To not have a single woman among the core decision makers of the government is like saying the womanifesto was a JUMLA and 46% women should be happy with what we men decide to give you.
Can’t men deliver what women need?
Of course they can. They’ve been doing it for thousands of years. They can. The Khap Panchayat can too, if it wants, and so can this cabinet if it thinks making a big show of giving stuff to women will get it glory as a good government that delivers. It is called patriarchy. Where women’s needs are articulated by men, they aren’t capable enough to be among men as equals in important positions of authority and they can have their needs met as men deem appropriate and they aren’t capable enough to have a say on their own realities. It essentially says women are too stupid to fix their own problems. I don’t respect this rubbish. Particularly given that I find most men incapable of understanding women or respecting their needs.
The points are endless. When there is abject inequality, you cannot approach it from any side without glaring wrongs being visible.
If anyone makes further arguments worth mentioning, I will add them here.
5 thoughts on “India’s capital becomes a bastion of male power”
AS per RTI from Police department and RBI, Three employees of Reserve Bank of India convicted by criminal court for outraging modesty of woman Police constable in premises of RBI Fort Mumbai, continue in employment of RBI only with cautionary advices. RBI believes In Protecting criminals in their organization. If Police woman is not safe in RBI then what about other women employees?
Super post. In fact, it was surprising to see that AAP supporters get upset and angry over criticism just like the Bhakts. Bahar-haal aapne issue to uthaa hi diya hai. Let’s see, what Arvind Kejriwal does in coming day.
The problem is, you are saying that men have tricked you in the name of delivering what women want, which is a fact, but you are demanding the seat of power from men rather than snatching it for yourself using your intellect and clever tactics. So you remain what you are. He can give you one cabinet minister too. That is not so difficult. Just the way you were so pleased when he hugged his wife, you will be pleased with this too.
I am a male. Admit possible bias. But i proclaim to be feminist. Wish there is realism while I welcome such critical and vigilant opinion. I wish to know the authors ideas of how women’s issues need to be tackled. I for one do not believe that all the revolutions are happening in this formation of 7 member state cabinet where even the statehood is so halfbaked. So any over enthusiasm in criticizing the cabinet on the day of formation without understanding it as a step towards fulfillment of the promise as in directive principles of the indian constitution . So AAP is a small step in right direction. To confuse it as male domination is neither historically valid nor wise.
AAP is KHAP. Arvind Kejriwal is NOT a progressive leader. The only progressives in AAP are Yogendra Yadav & Prashant Bhushan but they have been sidelined in favor of Manish Sisodia, Ashutosh & Ashish Khetan. The party has effectively sidelined it’s most brilliant & progressive minds and has turned into a pure political animal.
As far as supporters go, slavery of the mind is the worst form of slavery. Blind supporters of Arvind Kejriwal are as dangerous as blind supporters of Narendra Modi.
The only hope is that, if Arvind Kejriwal and his cabinet doesn’t perform at the highest levels the people will teach them a lesson as well.