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Women and Politics: France, India and Russia

Bharati Ray (Editor)
Synopsis "Feminists argue that if democracy is a government by the people, a democratic state must connote a government run by its men and women alike. Can that definition of democracy be justified in the working of governments even in the ‘democratic’ states of the world ? If not, why not? How and why have women been denied/marginalised in the decision-making processes of the state almost everywhere ? And what can be done to put right a historical wrong? Twelve eminent feminist scholars from three countries, France, India and Russia, address such vital questions and critically examine the relationship between politics and women in their respective states. They pinpoint how the imbalance in political power strengthens gender inequalities in education, labour, and in the fields of art, literature or legal rights. The French contributors show how in France, the birth place of human rights, women’s position is disadvantaged; the French revolution had excluded women from its ‘egalitarian’ politics, and the meaning of the terms ‘equality’, ‘liberty’ and ‘fraternity’ differed for men and women. Indian scholars analyse how hierarchical structures of caste, class religion and identity, have complicated the issue of women’s empowerment in both political and economic arenas. In Russia, where gender inequalities dominated in politics, a small group, ‘Women of Russia’, attempted to create a niche for itself. ‘Parity’, to borrow the term of the French feminists, must be extended in every sphere, and cover the realms of the politics of the private and public spaces. The critical task for the journey ahead, the authors maintain, is to create new opportunities and forums which provide political space for women from diverse backgrounds to promote and fight for equitable gender relations. The aim in the new millennium would be to make ‘democracy’ real for all citizens of the world, regardless of their gender."
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About the author

Bharati Ray

Bharati Ray taught History at Calcutta University and was Pro-Vice-Chancellor there from 1988 to 1995. She was Founder-Director of the Women's Studies Research Centre at the university and is currently Honorary Professor and Member, Peace Research Group, Department of History, Calcutta University, and Editorial Fellow of PHISPC. She is a bilingual author and has numerous books, both authored and edited, to her credit. Some of her Pramountcy (1988); Detecting Disadvantages: A Pilot Study of Scheduled Caste Women in Two Districts of West Bengal (1994_; Early Feminists in Colonial Bengal: Sarala Devi Chaudhurani and Begum Rokeya Sakhawat Hassain (2002); Women's Struggle: A History of the All Indian Women's Conference 1927-1990, jointly authored with Aparna Basu (1990-2002); From the Seams of History: Essays on Women in Colonial India, ed.(1995); From Independence toward Freedom: Indian Women Since 1947. co-ed. (1999); Women and Politics: France, India and Russia, ed. (2000) and Politics and Identity in South Asia, jointly edited with David Taylor (2002). She has also compiled and edited two volumes of articles published in the earliest women's journal in Bengal,Bamabodhini Patrika, 1863-1922. She was a Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha), 1996-2002, and a member of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Empowerment of Women. Married with three children, Bharati Ray is fond of reading, writing, listening to music, watching plays, cooking and travelling. She loves the company of children and is currently President of the Children's Little Theatre, Kolkata.

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Bibliographic information

Title Women and Politics: France, India and Russia
Author Bharati Ray
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.2000
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 8170742242
length xii+196p., Index; 22cm.