Despite outnumbering men in the Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad civic bodies,women corporators are an unhappy lot.
Reason: they have not been given a free hand in decision-making process. They might have a point,but officials and activists,argue that women corporators are themselves to blame for their plight as many of them o not actively participate in raising public issues inside civic general body meetings or even on public platforms.
Following the state governments decision to reserve 50 per cent wards for women,as many as 78 women corporators made it to the 152-member PMC general body in the last elections. In PCMC,65 women corporators were elected in the house of 128 corporators.
Things have hardly changed in local politics as men take a call on all important issues and women corporators have to accept that, said Vaishali Marathe,chairperson of Women and Child Welfare Committee.
The civic administration does not take us seriously and it can be made out from the poor attendance in the committee meetings, Marathe said,adding,the members had to take up the issue with the municipal commissioner and threaten to resign if the situation prevailed.
PMC Congress corporator and state Congress chief Kamal Vyavhare said that there is not much attention given to the good work done by us.
We need more publicity to highlight our work. The lack of recognition for good work is not encouraging to women who are performing well in politics, she said.
However,former Pune mayor Rajlaxmi Bhosale said if a person has the capability then no one can stop them from making their presence felt. The women corporators have to blame themselves for their situation. Most women corporators are there because the ward has become reserved and male member cannot contest. Thus,they are incapable of taking decision and go by what they are told, she said.
Civic activists said Bhosale is not off the mark. Women corporators can hardly be seen actively participating in civic general body meetings. They rarely aggressively take up public issues. It is difficult to find out women corporators,except for a handful of them,agitating for civic issues like water and roads, said activist Vijay Kumbhar. For a good measure,he said,Civic bodies actually are completely male-dominated,they rule by proxy.
In PMC, corporators like Kamal Vyavahare (Congress),Ashwini Kadam (Independent), Medha Kulkarni (BJP),Madhuri Sahastrabuddhe (BJP) and Rupali Thombre (MNS) are seen aggressively taking up public causes.
In PCMC,corporators like Seema Savle and Sulbha Ubale (both Shiv Sena) are always on the forefront,exposing acts of omission and commission. of the civic administration. In last few years,she has filed nearly 1,000 RTI applications that has laid bare the functioning of the PCMC adminitration,irregularities committed by officials and helped protect public interest.
Mangala Kadam,NCP House leader and Pimpri Mayor Mohini Lande,are two other women members who are somewhat vocal in PCMC house. In PCMC,it is always Seema Savle and Sulbha Ubale who are seen articulating their views effectively,others are rarely heard, said activist Raju Jawalkar.