Why women’s presence in political parties is crucial to closing the political gender gap
In conversation with Tanushree Goyal, Academy Scholar at Harvard University
Before Sangeeta (name changed), a resident of Delhi, met her municipal councillor, there had been “no politics” in her life. Or at least that’s what she thought. Her life took a new turn when one day at a local event, the councillor sought her opinion on installing streetlights in the area.
Sangeeta thought streetlights would be a good thing, and offered her support. But the councillor was a woman, and the story didn’t stop there. She got Sangeeta to work actively with her on other local issues, and in 2013, even encouraged her to join a political party.
When Sangeeta was interviewed as part of a research investigation conducted by Tanushree Goyal, Sangeeta recounted how she went on to become the head of her party’s women’s wing in the constituency. Sangeeta’s journey, of being propelled into party politics by a fellow woman leader, is not an exception. Rather, it’s the typical route for several women who join party politics in India, Goyal told #WomenLead in a virtual conversation last month.
Goyal is an academy scholar at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies, Harvard University. Her research focuses on women’s under-representation across political levels in India, and how recognizing the inter-linked nature of women’s exclusion is important to addressing this gap.