Aadhe Hum, Aadha Humara
Media associated with this campaign
Overview of this campaign
TOI TOOK A UNIQUE CAUSE TO ENCOURAGE WOMEN REPRESENTATION IN POLITICS
Bihar elections were India’s first mass poll after the COVID-19 pandemic struck the country. More than seventy million of its men and women voted to elect a new government amid a raging battle against COVID-19. Saluting this great tradition of citizens forming a Government of their own choice through ballots, The Times of India began a campaign to raise awareness about how women can get full justice in our democratic system.
Women comprise almost half the population of the country but hold only 14.4% of Lok Sabha seats and even worse at the state level with only 9% of Vidhan Sabha seats. Although women make up nearly 50% of India’s population, and in many states vote at a much higher percentage than men, there is less than 1 woman for every 10 men running our states.
The Times of India launched a campaign Aadhe Hum, Aadha Humara to sensitize voters of Bihar on the importance of better representation of women in State Assemblies so that their issues can be given priority. Unless they are well represented, how will their issues be highlighted?
If women are represented in critical mass in the State Assemblies, not only issues pertaining to women like law and order (rapes & sexual harassment), water (toilets, sanitation) would receive attention but their lived experiences would enrich and balance overall law and policy-making in the state.
TOI highlighted social issues that go unnoticed due to lack of women representation in politics. The campaign included a detailed editorial report on success rate of women vs men in Assembly polls, opinion of Padmashree awardee social activist and women leaders from three major political parties, series of ads in TOI, a digital public interest film that went viral within days of launch in Bihar. This initiative was supported not only in print, but Change.org, radio, social media, TOI digital platform to ensure wider and maximum possible reach.
Results for this campaign
Women have been voting in a greater percentage than men in the assembly elections displaying, greater interest in political participation. Still, party gave barely 10% tickets to women in the last Bihar vidhan sabha election, leading to a miniscule 11% women in the assembly. The campaign realized it’s success when Janta Dal United party fielded 22 women candidates (~20% of woman candidates) in Bihar Assembly Election 2020. This is the highest number of woman candidates fielded by any political party in the Bihar Assembly Elections. This is the motivation for citizen intervention to persuade and pressure the players to provide greater opportunities to women in politics.
The Times of India released an 80-second public interest film in local dialect (Bhojpuri and Maithili) to reach out to the masses which created a huge buzz and went viral within days in Bihar. For a local campaign, we received over half a million video views within 15 days of launch. The film addressed specific women issues, such as, 60% married women face domestic violence, 80% of women use unsafe sanitary products, 60% of women are anaemic to name a few and raised a question to all the political parties and the public: When you can’t see them, how can you see their issues?
Biharis united to show their support for the cause by making the campaign film go viral and giving a missed call on a particular number.
Women leaders from three major political parties in Bihar (BJP, JDU and RJD), two civil society groups (a social activist from Oxfam India, a Padmashree awardee from Nari Gunjan) and from Shakti, a pan India, non-partisan citizens pressure group working to get more women in state assemblies & parliamentactive in the state spoke out in unison in support for a better representation of women in politics to enable women participation in the decision-making process for the larger good of society.