Gender, Religion and Caste: Class 10 Political Science Chapter 4 Notes

Class 10 Political Science Chapter 4 Notes “Gender, Religion and Caste”: These notes are meat for short revision especially during exam preparation team. Click here to download detailed comprehensive notes of the chapter “Gender, Religion and Caste”.

Gender, Religion and Caste Class 10

I. Gender and Politics

How does gender disparity lead to discrimination and oppression of women?

Political Agitation of Women

  • In the past, only men were allowed to participate in public and political affairs. Gradually, the topic of gender appeared in politics.
  • Women in different parts of the world have been raising their voice for equal rights. These campaigns called for the expansion of women’s civil and legal rights and improvement in their educational and job opportunities.
  • The right to vote; in India, was recognised at the time of framing the constitution. But in the west, Right to vote was secured through painstaking organisation and agitation.
  • A man or woman who believes in equal treatment and equal opportunities for men and women is considered a feminist.
  • Many women’s campaigns try to address gender issues in personal and family life. These demonstrations are recognised as feminist campaigns.

Indian Scenario

  • In India, women continue to face drawbacks and disparities in a variety of ways.
  • In families, boys are often preferred over girls and get better treatment.
  • Many women are involved in unpaid household labour. And in offices, women are paid less than men for the same work.
  • In India, participation of women in politics and government is very low.
  • The sex ratio is defined as the number of females per 1,000 males in a population at a point of time.
  • Sexual division of labour is a framework in which workers are categorised on the basis of their gender and work allotted on the basis of gender rather than ability.
  • Most families in India follow patriarchy; it is a system in which the head of the household is the father or the adult male member of the family.
What are the reasons for low political representation of women in India and ways to improve it?

Reasons for low political participation

  • The most fundamental social constraint that women face is the patriarchal system.
  • In such a system, all decision-making powers in a family lie in the hands of males.
  • Another barrier that hinders women’s political participation is the lack of education.
  • Lack of financial resources and the high cost of campaigning has discouraged many women from participating in politics.
  • Violence is often used as a tool to prevent women from participating as election administrators, or voters or even candidates.
  • Then there are institutional constraints like the political system that operates under a rigid schedule and does not take into account women’s domestic responsibilities.

Steps towards improving the political participation of women

  • Making it legally compulsory to have a fair proportion of women in the elected bodies would help ease the problem of low representation of women in legislatures.
  • Panchayati Raj has reserved one-third of the seats in local governing bodies for women, and as a result, the number of women in panchayats and municipalities is now over 10 lakhs.
  • A similar reservation in the Lok Sabha has been a demand of many women’s organisations and activists.
  • A bill proposing the same has been pending before the Parliament for ten years but not yet passed because there is no consensus among political parties over it.
  • Measures such as the ones by Panchayati Raj can certainly help improve the political representation of women in India.

II. Communalism and Politics

What do you understand by communal politics?


  • Communal politics happen when religion is seen as central to society and country.
  • Beliefs of one religion are presented as superior to those of other religions.
  • The followers of a particular religion are seen as being committed to only their community.
  • People who practise different religions are looked as outsiders and not as a part of the same social group, hence they are given an unequal status.
  • These notions give rise to communal politics that is based on the premise that religion is the foundation of the social community.

Various forms of communal beliefs in politics

  • Communalism in everyday beliefs involves religious biases, stereotyping of religious groups and belief in the supremacy of one’s religion over other religions.
  • Communalism of political dominance takes the form of majority dominance among those who belong to the majority group. For those that belong to a minority group, it may take the form of a desire to form a separate political unit.
  • Political mobilisation includes the use of religious icons, religious figures, emotional appeals and apprehension of other religions to bring together the adherents of one religion in the political arena and influence electoral politics.
  • Communal violence, such as riots and massacres, is a result of the ugliest type of communalism. India’s partition led to communal violence that caused a huge loss of human life.

III. Caste and Politics

How does the predominance of caste inequalities impact politics?

Caste inequalities

  • Casteism is a hereditary system of determining occupation, political influence, endogamy, social culture and social class.
  • It can also be characterised as a class structure determined by birth.
  • The caste system was based on the exclusion of and prejudice against ‘outcaste’ communities.
  • Some of these communities have also been subjected to the cruel tradition of untouchability.
  • With industrial growth, large-scale urbanisation, rise in literacy and schooling, work mobility and a weakening of the status of landlords in villages, the old conceptions of caste hierarchy are breaking down.
  • The Constitution of India prohibited any caste-based prejudice and paved the way for policies aimed at redressing the injustices of the caste system.

Caste in politics

  • Casteism, like communalism, is the belief that caste is the sole basis of social structure.
  • Caste can have an effect on politics.
  1. Candidature based on the caste composition of the constituency
  2. Emotional appeals made by political parties and candidates revolving around caste
  • However, it must also be noted that:
  1. In India, no parliamentary constituency has a clear majority of any one caste.
  2. To win elections, each candidate and party must gain the support of more than one caste and community.
  • Nonetheless, caste has a significant role in electoral politics.

Politics in caste

  • It is not politics that is caste-ridden; it is caste that gets politicised.
  • Bringing caste identities into the political arena has an impact on caste structure and caste identities.
  • This takes several forms.
  1. Each caste group strives to expand by absorbing closely related castes or sub-castes and make itself stronger.
  2. In the political arena, new caste groups have emerged, such as ‘backward’ and ‘forward’ caste groups.
  • Despite all these factors, the representation of caste inequalities in politics allows many underprivileged communities to seek their fair share of power.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply