Better chief ministers/prime ministers?

Compiled By GO Team
With so many women seeking entry into politics today we thought it would be useful to find out what people think about women in politics? Traditionally, women have shied away from the predominantly male domain of politics, they may seek secure government jobs but to be an MLA, MP, a chief minister, prime minister? Women rarely dream big like men!
But in our hopefully more educated, enlightened times, women who subscribe to women’s lib more or less in so much as home situations are changing in a world, which offers women more opportunities to be educated, financially independent, well-read, capable of taking decision on their own…are now realizing that they too can give back to society to make a difference. Count for something, so that the future brightens up not just for women but for the whole world near and far.
Of course women have counted for something in this country’s history ancient and closer to modern times! History tells recounts the story of many remarkable women of their times. We know given the sunlight, salt and time, women politicians can be as good, bad or ugly, as corrupt and ruthless as their male counterparts…study the life and times of an Indira Gandhi, Jayalalitha, Mayawati in this country? And then there is Mamata Banarjee in Goa currently with her Trinamool Congress seeking to make a clean sweep of dark forces holding this country to ransom…can a woman make a difference to the quality of our politics for the better?
Be less corrupt, kinder, as well as tough enough to take on the brute forces of monetised powers that in our stinking to high heaven cesspools of political autocracy and dadagiri? Goan Observer asked a few of its readers, listen in to some of the answers from aam aadmi and khaas aadmi…

outspoken 88-year-old grandma in Panaji:
Answer: I feel women are mediocre in politics! But I like Mamata Banarjee, she’s a woman of substance, really something. If I meet her I can hug her! Indira Gandhi was good but I prefer her granddaughter Priyanka! I think women have more guts, more than men. That’s all I have to say.


former editor of oHeraldo and editor of Goan Observer for the last 18 yea

RAJAN NARAYAN, former editor of oHeraldo and editor of Goan Observer for the last 18 years:
Women make better politicians as they are not as egoistic and power hungry as men. There are many instances of women politicians who have done much better than men in the country. This includes Jayalalitha who presided over the destiny of Tamilnaduk. Mayawati was the chief minister of the largest state of India, Uttar Pradesh, and the present star of Goa Trinamool Congress is Mamata Banarjee. It may be noted that Mamata ended 34 years of CPM tyranny in West Bengal in 1984 without any help from Prashant Kishore.
Women are particularly successful in states which have a matriarchal mind set. By that token Goa with a predominantly matriarchal mind set is ready for a woman chief minister. The only woman chief minister so far has been Shashikala Kakodkar who inherited the job from her father, the first chief minister of Goa Dayanand Bandodkar. Regrettably when women occupy positions of power they are compared to men! As if being feminine and being a leader are not compatible.
In Europe there have been outstanding heads of state like Angela Merkel who governed Germany for 34 years. She lived a simple life, stayed in an ordinary flat, drove her own car and did not have any domestic help at home. When a media person commented that she had been wearing the same suit more than once, she snapped back that she was a public servant and not a model!

MITA SEN, homemaker in her 70s , well-read, travelled around India as her army doctor father was posted out every few years, finally settled in Kolkatta:
In the current world I hope we will see younger women. Like Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand! She is young, comes across as so much fun to know, she is compassionate, progressive…in general more compassionate than men ever could be. Then take Germany’s Angela Merkel, who was returned three times by the people of Germany, she was very popular, did her job proud.
She left quietly and happily…they wanted her back but in Germany they have some rule about serving only three times, no more. Then look at Margaret Thatcher whom I’m no overly fond, she was too dogmatic and rigid but they say she took good decisions and turned the British economy around which was paralysed when she took over the prime minister’s post.
Remember our Indira Gandhi, she too was considered as the only woman in her cabinet or iron lady and such things…but few women leaders have a vision! That’s what makes a difference. Having a vision makes a lot of difference. Perhaps only New Zealand’s Jacinda is a visionary, she is not only a compassionate leader but a vision. If you have a vision you have something more than what most politicians have…today most of them have the vision only how to grab power and make money! That’s what’s happening round us, it is so dismal and I have lost interest in politics.
Mamata-didi is very dedicated to what she thinks, West Bengal and India, but sometimes goes overboard and doesn’t depute…look at how big the exodus was when the BJP came into West Bengal for the last elections, so many of her own people left her. Even if they came back later when she won!
SANGITA PARMAR, HD Advisor & Consultant, lives in Mumbai:
I DO believe that women make better leaders because they are fair, more transparent, at least most of them that I know in the corporate world do not play politics. But the fact also remains that it is much tougher for a woman to be in a leadership position, especially in India because Indian men have deeply set chauvinist viewpoints, they are a little conservative, they find it very difficult to accept a female boss.
Especially in politics we know it is such a dirty game. Indira Gandhi managed because she got it on a bit of a platter, plus she has a legacy, because there was high regard for her father and generally people were in awe of her and her background. But yet I know, we all know, that she also had it very tough and it wasn’t easy for her to be there.
Also I feel female leaders are less corrupt, I know some can be very corrupt, but at least they are not as corrupt as men can be! They are also more focussed, more committed, more sincere in what they do. It’s just that unfortunately today in the Indian political scenario I don’t see any female who can really lead the nation; maybe at state level, but at the national level and to globally really make a mark, I don’t see anybody currently. And that’s my opinion.
But like I said initially in the corporate world also even today it is not easy for a woman. All of us have to deal with male ego, male insecurities and arrogance, one needs to have a lot of metal and gumption to stand up firm and tall to be able to be inspiring and effective in the role!
ROHAN KHAUNTE, independent MLA from Porvorim constituency, one of Goa’s young and most articulate politicians:
WOMEN have long since broken the so called glass ceiling in every field. From being CEO’s, entrepreneurs, mountaineers and astronauts every possible male bastion has been breached and so the question of whether women can be good CMs and PMs is rather irrelevant. Rather the question should be whether we’re still holding our women back from displaying their astuteness and leadership qualities.
Introspective thinking will reveal that since ancient times men have attempted to draw boundaries of female capacities. We need to understand that women face more challenges than men, be it at home or work, and a definitive change in male outlook is most necessary for our women to reach their extensive potential.
Every flight of our women bore the additional weight of customary male dominance, be it Rani Laxmibai, Indira Gandhi, Indra Nooyi or our very own `Tai’ Sasikala Kakodker and Sanyogita Rane to name a few. The rise of our women has been hurdled by male scepticism and thus, limiting their scope of ingenuity and action. So when it comes to politics, power and legislation, it’s the male bastion that’s holding our women back from being successful MLAs, ministers, chief ministers, prime ministers and presidents.
The world pandemic has thrown up many challenges which our women have handled with much aplomb. Their resilience in facing the changing environment, be it at home, offices and other avenues, has helped humanity face the pandemic confidently. The most successful responses to Covid has been where women are at the helm, be it New Zealand, Norway, Taiwan or take the Kerala Health Minister Smt Shailaja.
Women power has shown exemplary courage and decisiveness in the wake of adversity, so that there are no two opinions on whether women can excel as our leaders. It is just the constraints of opportunities and societal shackles that are limiting the flight of our women.
I take pride in working with my women colleagues in assembly who display superb legislative abilities and thus, contributing to the progressive development of Goa. I am looking forward to the day when there’s a women majority in our assembly leading Goa from the forefront. Let’s have more of our women joining and strengthening the process of democracy!
homemaker, musician, writer in her mid-40s:
Would women make better politicians, chief ministers, prime ministers? I don’t think about it like that. I don’t see gender here at all, it’s a question of who that person is, man or woman? A woman can be as competent or incompetent, good or as bad as a man…now I thought Sushma Swaraj was a very good politician, but Mamata Banaarjee’s destroyed West Bengal! See, women can be demonic too or angelic. So many worshipped Jayalalitha and we heard about her corruption, so how do we judge? I can’t judge at all. Let me say women have as much potential as men to be good or bad leaders, it’s not a gender issue, full stop. Also women tend to go into politics much later, although all that is changing nowadays, that’s all I have to say.
Goa Trinamool Congress leader and spokesperson:
SEE, I look at it like this. We need leaders dedicated to the country, people to serve in sphere of public administration and in politics. We need good people, men and women, and our national chairperson Mamata Banarjee has energised us, she is the most important Opposition leader in the country today. She has also given a chance for more and more women to come into politics and to be in Parliament to contribute. We are the true Congress, we are the asli Congress!

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