ES Bijimol, a three-time MLA of the Communist Party of India (CPI) has said she suffered moral attacks and degradation from her male colleagues for daring to contest in a male bastion.
The former legislator from Peermade in Kerala's Idukki district put out a lengthy Facebook post on Thursday to share her bad experience.
The other day, the CPI elected K Salimkumar as its Idukki district secretary. Bijimol, in her post, said she had also been nominated for the position.
"But the degrading and moral attacks I faced just on touching that man-centric cocoon is unspeakable," Bijimol wrote.
According to her post, the National Federation of Indian Women, of which she is an executive member, had decided that she should stand for the election.
"The party that I believe in and for which I work suggested to have 15% reservation for women in the political leadership.
As a result, the NFIW took a firm stand to have at least one woman as district secretary. I was nominated for that post.
"As a people's representative, I have faced such degrading from rival parties and the media (satirical references from media). I was able to resist, withstand and overcome such attacks.
"But this trauma will haunt me because the principled politicians, who said I did not need the consideration of my gender, used the same reference to insult me when I was being considered for the post as a woman secretary," Bijimol wrote.
She has, however, preferred to march on. Bijimol even quoted a few punchlines from the popular Malayalam film 'Lelam'. "I only have -- in the words of Anakattil Eappachan -- 'irreverence' for those who taken anti-woman positions, irrespective of how lordly their positions are. This is a different 'genus' that prefers to be 'outspoken' about women's rights," Bijimol wrote.
Anti-woman views of progressive parties
Bijimol hailed the introduction of women's reservation in local self-government bodies and said much has changed since she began her political career.
However, she says, most men in politics, have taken anti-woman views.
"They talk at length about women's representation in politics, will host symposiums and hold protests and debates for bringing about women's reservation in the assembly and parliament.
"But the attitude of most political parties that claim to be progressive is anti-woman.
The majority of the men who are part of these progressive parties, from the knowledge acquired through reading and participating in organisational politics, put on a glossy exterior that appears gender-neutral. But in my experience, they are no different from those with conventional views.
"People like me, who entered full-time politics after women's reservation was introduced in panchayats 27 years ago, have several such anti-woman experiences to share.
But we can proudly say that in the last 25 years, women have broken the traditional views, 'what can women do' and 'these projects would fail'.