Mayawati, Sonia Gandhi, Mamata Banerjee or Smriti Irani: Peril of being powerful female politicians in India


The derogatory remark against the Mayawati only reflects the rot in our society which promotes sexist and casteist attacks against women politicians. They are easy targets for abuse and name calling by political rivals.

This is not the first time Mayawati has been targeted. She has faced repeated insults because of her caste and gender. Only few months ago, Mayawati ‘s picture with racist comment about her colour was circulated on social media and very few raised objections.

It’s not just Mayawati, most female politicians are easy targets within and outside the parliament . Be it Mayawati, Jayalalitha, Sonia Gandhi or Smriti Irani, female politicians across all parties are often subjected to abuse and name calling.

Jayalalitha was badly assaulted and attacked in the assembly. So was Mayawati, who had to be rescued by other members. Sonia Gandhi is often hurled insults and trolled by senior politicians from rival parties.

Smriti Irani too has been a victim of nasty attack both inside the parliament and and on social media. All these incidents highlight the real challenge these ladies face in their political careers.

In the recent Assam elections, MLA Angurlata Dekha was targeted for her look. During the 2014 elections, Congress leader Nagma was manhandled and allegedly groped by male party workers. These incidents highlight the rampant misogyny prevalent in our political class. If powerful politicians are subjected to such attacks, it’s not difficult to imagine the status of ordinary women.

Most of the attacks are personal than due to their administrative skills or corruption charges. Seldom do male politicians face the same level of vitriol as their female counterparts.

Most of them are experienced and tough politicians but remain easy targets for personal attacks. Have you ever wondered as to what makes them so vulnerable? The power these ladies yield threatens the male ego hence vile attacks against them.

These fiercely independent and opinionated women are not easy to be ignored, so derogotary slurs and personal attacks are used to weaken them. The judgmental attitude of the society coupled with unwanted interest shown in their personal lives mirror the misogynistic values of our society.

Most of the attackers get away with their remarks often with mere apology. This reflects how much we value the dignity of a female politician. Changing societal norms has empowered the women but still the ease with which female politicians are attacked is reflective of a deep rooted bias against powerful women.