Even in the twenty first century, women all over the world are struggling to get a decent share in the political circles. Male domination is visible in every segment of human life and politics is also not an exception…
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Even in cabinet or parliaments, women are underrepresented. It should be noted that population wise, the number of women in this world is more than the number of men. Yet they were deprived of equal opportunities in political circles with men. The conditions of the women were not so good in the past also. It should be noted that slavery and other social evils were prevailing not only in America but also in other parts of the world during past few centuries. Slavery was hyperactive during the period 1600-1820. Women community struggled more than male community because of slavery related problems as well as other social evils. Participation in politics was only a distant dream for women during the past. This paper analyses the political roles of women during the period 1600-1820. Carol Berkin in her article, “The Effect of Slavery on African American Women Lives” clearly explains the social and political life of women in America during 1600-1820. ‘Denied by any legal abilities to control the conditions of their life, women labored according to their master’s demands. Women were vulnerable to brutal punishments and to the separation of their families. They had no choice but to accept the marginal food and clothing” (“Berkin, p.59). These facts clearly illustrate the typical lives of black women during the period of 1600-1820 in America. Many people have the illusion that the conditions of white women was so good in America during this period. In fact white women also faced lot of discriminations during this period even though they never faced harsh experiences as faced by the black women explained above. When talking about women in Africa and other countries of the global south (formerly known as the Third World), feminists often point out that these women must manage multiple forms of disadvantage or oppression. Not only do they suffer the universal subordination shared by women across the world, but also they must contend with living in poorer or less-developed countries(Women, Politics, and Power, p.27). Even today, African women are leading pathetic life compared to women in other parts of the world. They were forced to look after their family single handedly. African males treat their counterparts as inferior citizens. They never allow women to work in the mainstreams of social or political life. The case is not much different in Asia or Europe. In all these regions, the participation of women in politics was negligible during 1600-1820. Women all over the world started to get some kind of recognition in politics from the latter parts of 19 th century onwards. Women’s modern-day participation in politics begins with the acquisition of voting rights (suffrage). The first country to fully enfranchise women, and the only country to give women’s suffrage in the 19th century, was New Zealand in 1893. In 1902, Australia was the second country to give women’s suffrage and was followed by a variety of Western and Eastern European states. By 1945, 46% of the world’s countries allowed women to vote (Women, Politics, and Power, p.16). These statistics clearly suggest that women started to get voting rights only during the latter periods of 19 th century. Before that, it was unimaginable for women to think in terms of participating in politics. Discrimination against women was evident even in some of the most civilized societies during the 1600-1820 period. Women were used only for the reproductive work during this period. In majority of the countries, women were treated as commodities rather than human beings in this period. It should not be forgotten that the conditions of women is not so good even at present in some of the Middle Eastern countries. Even
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