Participation of women in democracy is basic to governance in democracy. Women have become dynamic leaders of transformation, their involvement to claim their civil liberties, building communities and providing protection at various situations is commendable. But, there is a long way to go before women get equal rights to represent leadership and take charge of power positions, be it in government organizations or corporate boardrooms.
Ill practices and discriminatory laws have hampered the growth of women. Limiting education, time and income are some other issues which have not allowed the women to grow to their full potential. Statistical institutions at regional, national and international level lack knowledge to address the issues linked to treating women and men equally. Current database and methodologies are not used efficiently for the purpose of decision making.
The Platform for Action or the agreement held in Beijing conference, highlighted ‘women in power and decision-making’ as one of the major topics. Two essential changes were decided. First and foremost it directed the measures which imparted women right to exercise complete participation in structures of power and policy makers. Positive measures and political quotas are example of these. Several seats are kept reserved for women candidates this is how some of the countries have promoted women leaders. Secondly, this conference decided on some steps to increase participation by women. An emphasis was given on training women on public speaking, leadership, political campaigning, like preparing them to rise as winners and become good leaders who can motivate others for same.
Human Rights declared universally have stated that every individual can take part in government proceeding of his/her country. Women autonomy and empowerment, their political, social and economic status is most required for achieving a accountable and transparent government. Women are prevented from leading a complete life because of power relations that operate at the level of society, from highly public to the most personal level. Equality at the level of political decision making would only be able to really integrate the government policy making efforts successful.
It is right of women to participate equally. Once they are in leadership roles, they have the ability to influence rest of the society. It was found by Inter-Parliamentary Union that women pay more attention to improving trust, social welfare and legal policies. Implementation of commitments put forward in Beijing conference and promoting leadership roles for women would further speed up the progress.
Participation by women in decision making is not only the demand by judiciary or democracy but it is one of the important requirements to address the interests of women. But contemporary working methods of many government structures and political parties impose a barrier to participation by women in public life.
Number of women in parliament is increasing year by year. Women are working hard and making their presence felt in some of the important organizations at global level. With the current pace of transformation, gender discrimination should not be visibly evident in parliaments, governments or other organizations till the next century.