Role of Women In Politics And Policymaking

This article titled “Role of Women In Politics And Policymaking” has been written by Yashika Rathour, BA.LLB (Hons.) student at IMS Unison University.


The role of women in politics and policymaking has evolved significantly over the past few decades. Women’s participation in the policymaking process has grown rapidly, with women being elected to various political roles, including presidents, prime ministers, and members of parliament. However, despite the progress made in enhancing women’s political representation, many challenges remain, including gender inequality, cultural barriers, and patriarchal attitudes. This research paper examines the role of women in politics and policymaking, focusing on their contributions, obstacles, and the progress made in their representation.

Historical Context

Historically, women have been marginalized in almost all aspects of life, including politics and policymaking. Women’s participation in politics was almost non-existent, with men occupying all positions of power. However, the women’s suffrage movement, which arose in the late 19th and early 20th century, changed the status quo, leading to the inclusion of women in the political space. The movement culminated in the enactment of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which gave women the right to vote.

Despite these significant gains, women’s participation in politics remained relatively low, with men still dominating the political terrain. It was not until the second wave of feminism in the 1960s and 1970s that women’s political participation started to gain momentum. This period saw the emergence of women’s political parties, advocacy groups, and the appointment of women to various political positions, including congresswomen, senators, and governors.

Women’s Contributions To Politics And Policymaking

The contributions of women in politics and policymaking cannot be understated. Women bring a unique perspective and experience to policymaking, which enhances the quality of policies and programs. Research has shown that women are more likely to advocate for social welfare programs, healthcare services, and gender-sensitive policies, improving the lives of women and marginalized groups. For instance, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed into law, in part, because of the efforts of women lawmakers. Women also prioritize education and childcare, recognizing the importance of investing in the younger generation.

In addition, women’s representation in politics and policymaking has been linked to improved governance and democracy. Increased female representation in legislative bodies has been shown to drive progressive reforms, including improving access to justice, increasing accountability, and reducing corruption. Women in politics also tend to be more collaborative and compassionate, focusing on finding solutions to societal ills.

Obstacles Facing Women In Politics And Policymaking

Despite the progress made in women’s political representation, numerous obstacles still prevent women from fully participating in politics and policymaking. Gender disparities such as pay gaps, lack of access to education and healthcare, and cultural attitudes have limited women’s entry into politics. In some cultures and societies, women are discouraged from participating, with patriarchal attitudes reinforced by tradition or religion. A lack of support networks and financing can also hinder women’s progress in politics, with women often being excluded from leadership positions or committees.

Although it is believed that women’s political empowerment is the foundation for all other accomplishments in any society, it still faces numerous challenges, particularly in developing countries like India. However, in the developing world, due to deeply ingrained cultural, religious, and social beliefs about the place of women in a culture, it generates many constraints for women to be a component of decision-making in developing countries. While women have more opportunities and freedom to participate actively in political lives in developed countries, this is not the case in the developing world. Therefore, it is still insufficient to analyze women’s status in a political system using their involvement in the power structure and their political empowerment. Empowering women through a variety of initiatives and direct action is crucial to increasing their participation in politics.

The Panchayat Raj Institutions Act was passed and put into effect, but it did not significantly improve the situation or increase political involvement at the federal level. This results in a general percentage decline of women in Parliament, which is the main cause of the lack of a statistically significant difference between the pre- and post-implementation of the Panchayat Raj institutions. This is primarily because of the patriarchal mindset and the hostility towards women in the northern part of India. Researchers and social activists began to draw attention to the topic of women’s empowerment in the 1980s, and by the 20th century, discussions about women’s rights and gender equality had made their way into Indian politics.

Many women in politics also face challenges related to work-life balance. Women, in particular, may experience challenges balancing their role as mothers or caregivers with their work as policymakers. The lack of support or policies addressing these challenges can further limit women’s participation in decision-making.

Progress Made In Enhancing Women’s Political Participation

Governments, non-governmental organizations, and advocacy groups have taken steps to promote women’s political representation. Such initiatives include gender quotas, which compel political parties to reserve a certain number of seats for women. In addition, financing programs and training schemes have been developed to increase women’s representation in the workforce and support their political ambitions.

In recent years, the United Nations has been at the forefront of encouraging gender equality in politics through initiatives such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. Women also use organizations such as EMILY’s List, an American political action committee supporting pro-choice women, to support women’s political aspirations and provide campaign funding.


The role of women in politics and policymaking has seen immense progress but is still far from complete. Today, women still face numerous obstacles impeding their full participation in politics, including cultural biases, lack of support networks, and patriarchal attitudes. Nonetheless, the strides made toward enhancing women’s political representation have resulted in more equitable and effective policies that improve both men and women’s lives. As such, it is essential to continue working towards removing obstacles to women’s political participation and advancing progressive reforms.

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