Has India Failed its Women Leaders?
If you have travelled to different cities in India, you will notice one typical pattern in the structural layout of the place- a statue celebrating a leader of the place (ever noticed if they are women leaders or male leaders?). Most of these statues are located in the towns’ heavily populated and market areas and are often cultural and heritage landmarks. Traveling directions would be given based on the statue “Turn left from the statue of Gandhi Ji…” or “Stay right next to the murti (statue),” and so on.
But, a careful examination or a quick recollection of the statues will reveal one thing- all of these statues are of men. They celebrate male leaders who have contributed to society in some way or the other. In contrast women leaders remain in oblivion. So, why does India lack statues of its women leaders? Let us look at everything that can be a possible explanation for this.
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1. Is it the lack of Women Leaders?
Being such a huge and diverse country, to think that women had no part to play in its history would be wrong and factually incorrect. From Madam Cama to Savitribai Phule, there have been multiple women who have changed the course of Indian history.
Sculpture of woman wearing saree from Braj (Mathura).
2nd century AD.
In the history of Indian clothing the sari is traced back to the Indus Valley Civilisation, which flourished during 2800–1800 BC.
There are more than 80 recorded ways to wear a sari. pic.twitter.com/pIQGF3PQnd
— Indian Art (@IndiaArtHistory) October 8, 2020
Staues of women can be found throughout our history. But, there is a lack of statues in the modern time
2. Living in a Patriarchal Society
This could be one possible explanation for why India has yet to celebrate its women leaders. For years now, we have celebrated men and their achievements, our history books are testimony to this. But, rarely have we talked about the role of women in the growth of society. We live in a male-centric narrative, and stories of women are often downplayed or ignored. Women are also seen as the caring half who should care for the “household,” while men take on the “bigger responsibilities.” This is a blatant display of the gender gap in India and the widespread presence of gender disparity.
3. Lack of Political Will
Statues are symbols of power for the party in the ruling. They are seen as a way to honour leaders as well as concretize the legitimacy of their history and how the party values the sentiments of people. The lack of will of political parties to do the same for women leaders is another reason why we see almost no statues of women leaders.
So, while we seem to notice the gender disparity in India and the lack of statues of women leaders, there is hope that this awareness brings the people in power to do the correct thing.
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