Why Are Women Politically Active? - The Household, Public Space, and Political Participation in India

Chhibber, P.
Throughout history, women have generally been restricted to the roles inside the house, those of wife and mother. While major changes have occurred in the status of women in some parts of the world in recent decades, norms that restrict women to the home are still powerful in defining the activities that are deemed appropriate for women - and they exclude political life, which by its very nature takes place in a public forum. In the contemporary world, some regimes have enforced this principle most severely (the Taliban in Afghanistan for example), but it is also a powerful factor in many other countries such as Japan (where there is still a strong expectation that when they marry, women will leave full time employment outside the home). Moreover, the impact of home-centered norms for women is not restricted to non-Western countries. The norm that "Woman's place is in the Home" prevailed in Western societies well into the 20th century and, as this article will demonstrate, it still bears significant influence. In so far as this norm is accepted, it has an inhibiting effect on women's participation in politics...

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