Despite being the biggest democracy in the world, India still has to come to terms with the fact that the majority of its voters are men, with most of the country’s women preferring to stay away from the elections and anything to do with it. While low voter count among women is always registered in every election, the scene is no different in the Parliament where only a very few female politicians can be seen attending the House meetings.
Many may think India to be the only nation with this scenario. Surprisingly, this is not true as many studies have proved. These studies have found out that plenty of women around the world in general, tend to refrain from voting in elections or actively taking part in politics. Which brings us to this pertinent question: Why do women shy away from politics? Why do they maintain an ‘election averse’ stance when it comes to being a part of the voice of change? A new study published by the University of Pittsburgh aims to find out just that.
The study took into account the past researches that show women being not confident enough to hold office. As such, the investigators behind the study aimed to find out which factors influenced this decision to stay away from politics.
Over 350 UG students from the University were asked to participate in lab experiments aimed at studying this behaviour. The study was divided into different tasks, the first one of which included dividing the participants into random groups and then asking them to add some numbers.
The participants were allowed to solve additional problems if they had the time, and were paid for each correct answer.
The second phase of the study had participants answering questions about their willingness to represent their group. In this phase, each participant would earn 1/3 of their money for the questions they correctly answer and the remaining 2/3 of the money through the questions their group leaders answer correctly.The study revealed that in the second phase, both men and women equally volunteered to lead their respective groups almost 80% of the time.
The third phase then asked the participants to declare about their intentions of being the group leader. According to the rules in this phase, the participants would have to create a short election campaign message to their group. As soon as the competitive rules were announced, the number of women interested in leadership feel to 60% while about 78% men decided to run.
This reiterates the fact that while women volunteer to lead, they would in most cases, back down when it comes to actively participating in an election. The study further revealed that the election aversion only arose when variations were introduced in the electoral environment.
It has been noted that many women tend to refrain from taking part in active politics. A study published by the University of Pittsburgh also reiterated this fact by revealing that in most cases, women like to volunteer from behind the stands rather than stand in front and take charge.