“Penn & Politics”

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Penn & Politics event, an interactive session with and at Madras School of Social Work, Chennai and launch Shakti’s short film on women’s representation (Half Is Ours/நாம் பாதி நமது பாதி . Grassroots, non partisan citizen’s group, Shakti, championing the increase of female MLAs and MPs along with MSSW organized an interactive session with the MSSW students on பெண் & politics (Women & Politics) and followed by the launch of their short film, Half Is Ours/ நாம் பாதி நமது பாதி today, 26th February 2021 at Madras School of Social Work, in Egmore, Chennai. MP Thamizhchi Thangapandian, DMK, Actor/Politician Prakash Raj, AIADMK Spokesperson, Advocate Sivashankari, Social Activist Shalin Maria Lawrence launched the Tamil short film on cruciality of women’s representation in the Assembly, in light of the upcoming Tamil Nadu elections. The film is available for download at <politicalshakti-india.org>. The film is also available in other state languages like Bangla and Assamese in light of upcoming polls. The Principal of MSSW, S Raja Samuel welcomed the gathering and emphasized the importance of empowering women, including in the political sphere. Tara Krishnaswamy, the co-founder of Shakti delivered opening note, highlighting that while Tamil Nadu had the highest percentage of women PhDs, post graduates, Gross Enrolment Ratios of women and SC women in higher education, better than average labour force participation, women owning cash assets in banks and a higher percentage of female HC judges than most states and the highest percentage of female police officers in the nation, the political representation of women in the TN Assembly was woeful. TN has only 8% female MLAs now and never has the state had more than 14%. What is worse, tickets given by AIADMK & DMK to women are between 3-16% utmost in the last 15 years, precluding a critical mass of female MLAs. MP Thamizachi Thangapandian, said, “Social conditioning prevents women from realizing their political participation. Male Parliamentarians are even able to stomach the demand that 50% political representation is a birth right. Even the men the world reveres, like Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas have had a sordid attitude towards women’s equal rights.” Actor/Politician Prakash Raj said, that women’s political representation empowers society even as much as it empowers women. AIADMK Spokesperson, Advocate Sivashankari said that since the Constitution ensures equality, women need to seize the opportunity by coming forward. Women’s decide the win/loss election results, therefore young women should come forward. Social Activist, Shalin Maria Lawrence said, “Parties across ideology are united against women’s representation and exhibit a feudal mindset. While women are used as cheap vote catching labour, the environment is toxic and unsafe for women, even with those for social capital, leave alone the marginalized.” The program continued with a lively ad vibrant interaction between students and the panel. And concluded with Vote of thanks by Dr.V.Sakthi Rekha, Librarian, MSSW

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