Panel Discussion on ‘Women in Public Policy and Politics’ 

Bengaluru, March 08, 2019

Bangalore Political Action Committee (B.PAC) and British Deputy High Commission Bengaluru today organised  a panel discussion titled “Women in Public Policy & Politics” to mark International Women’s Day.  The program emphasised on International Women’s Day theme #BalanceForBetter – calling for collective action and shared responsibility for driving a gender-balanced world i.e. creating gender-balanced institutions, media and workplaces.

Dominic McAllister, British Deputy High Commission, Bengaluru while delivering the welcome address said “This year’s theme is #BalanceForBetter – calling for collective action & shared responsibility for driving a gender-balanced world.”

This was followed by Revathy Ashok, Hon Managing Trustee & CEO, B.PAC presenting the findings from the study conducted by B.PAC title- Analysis of Participation of women in politics:

  • The ratio of women:men contesting Lok Sabha elections was 1:33 in 1957 which has fallen to 1:11 in 2014 elections
  • Women winning the LS general elections from Karnataka has fallen from 4.5 % to 1.6 % (1971 to 2014 elections)
  • In Rajya Sabha, between the years 1958 to 2018, 11 women (11.8% of the total 96 members from Karnataka) have been elected, with a maximum four terms
  • As of 2018, there is only one-woman MP representation from Karnataka of the 12 seats allocated for the state
  • Between 1957 and 2018, the number of women contesting the Karnataka Legislative Assembly has increased by 813 %. The ratio of women:men contesting KLA elections was 1:23 in 1957 which has fallen to 1:11 in 2018 elections
  • The ratio of women:men contesting KLA elections was 1:23 in 1957 which has fallen to 1:11 in 2018 elections
  • The number of seats has increased by 25 % in KLA; the representation of women in the assembly proportionate to the number of seats has fallen by 51 %
  • Between 1957 and 2018, success rate for women in KLA has fallen from 54 % to 4 %
  • In 2012the Karnataka government increased the reservation for women in the urban local body and gram panchayat elections to 50 %.
  • With this, 101 wards in Bengaluru have women corporators – 51 % representation in BBMP council as of today.

The recommendations from the study are as follows:

1)      Women’s Reservation Bill: A 33% Women’s Reservation Bill for representation at the Parliament and Legislature is the first and most important step to encourage women participation in the second and first tier of Governments.

2)      Gender Report Card: The government should publish a gender report card that shows participation of women in all spheres

3)      The Election Commission of India should direct the political parties to put out a gender report card which shows the proportion of women to men representation within the party

A panel discussion ‘Women in public Policy and Politics‘ followed the program moderated by Revathy Ashok with panel members Margaret Alva, Former Union Minister and Governor, Prof. M V Rajeev Gowda, Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha), Vanditha Sharma, Additional Chief Secretary to Govt cum Developmental Commissioner, GoK, Vijayalakshmi Bidari, IAS, Chevening Scholar and  Dhanya Rajendra, Co-founder & Editor in Chief, The News Minute.

All the panelists collectively voiced an opinion strongly to support women’s participation in decision making in politics, administration and public policy.

“ Women have made positive changes in the grass root level and its is very evident in the statistics compared to the last two decades. Though this a a long way to go in empowering women, we are sure this positive trend will continue.” Margaret Alva, former union minister and governor

“India women in leadership was a successful initiative to bring more women leaders into politics and we intend to take it to every corner off this country because there an innate need for such progressive imitative”. Prof  Rajeev Gowda, MP Rajya Sabha

“B.PAC along with British Deputy High Commission, Bengaluru curated this program to positively influence the society and the system highlighting women participation and emphasizing the challenges faced by women across different spectrum of public life and bringing a positive change” Revathy Ashok, CEO B.PAC

This event was covered by Deccan Chronicle and International Business Times