It was all about the big W -- women in the recently concluded BMC elections of 2012. There was a 50 per cent quota reserved for women which meant that prior to the polls it was a given that of the 227 wards, 114 would be won and run by women candidates. In the end, it has emerged that there are 122 women corporators. This is a large number, having nearly doubled from the last time, when 64 women corporators had won.
While one is all for equality and empowerment, what this gives rise to is hope. Women, are seen as being closer to the ground than men are: issues like water, cleanliness and sanitation, roads near homes and basic amenities are seen to affect women more in their role as homemakers. Procuring and sanitising water, especially, in certain sections is seen as a woman's chore. You certainly see more women at a community tap or at home waiting to fill up buckets for water usage.
One hopes that the women elected can rise above petty politics, squabbles and infighting to truly tackle problems of the people. They had reservation, now they must make that seat count; empowerment comes by delivering on pre-poll promises.
Just before the polls, there was a healthy bit of skepticism about so many women contesting. Many felt that the women were propped up by male relatives and were mere stooges of these men. Then, many said the women were not qualified to stand for polls.
A glance through world history will show that women leaders are not necessarily less corrupt than men. Having said that, it is entirely possible that now elected, the women will step out of the men's shadows. Qualification is also subjective, we have many male leaders who are unqualified to represent the people. Women must justify their presence in the corridors of power and work to puncture that skepticism and change the lives of the people without fear or favour.