A virtual discussion to mark International Human Rights Day, organised by the Delhi High Court Women Lawyers Forum on Thursday, saw Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra and Aam Admi Party MLA Atishi Singh recount their political journeys. .The discussion on the theme First-generation Women Legislators was moderated by Advocates Mrinalini Sen and Zeba Khair..Watch the full session below:.Of political apathy and privilege.While speaking on what drove her to choose electoral politics as a career, Moitra remarked that it was a sense of apathy towards reforming the country that served as a turning point. ."The more upper class you get in India, it is almost like you wear it like a badge of pride - your disdain for politics and politicians", she said. She went on to add:."... for everyone who has a disdain for politics - the only thing that insulates you today is your privilege, please understand this. Every single decision that is being taken that affects your life is made by politicians. If you say politics does not interest you, it is because you are one of the very few who are isolated in your bubble where it doesn't matter to you which government comes in....".If you say politics does not interest you, it is because you are one of the very few who are isolated in your bubble.Mahua Moitra.On the need to acknowledge that the system is not fair."The world is unfair... be it income inequity, be it gender inequity, caste inequity, be it inequity based on minorities", Atishi highlighted, as she gave her address. .However, what is crucial is the acknowledgement of these inequities before navigating solutions. Existing inequalities must be acknowledged as reality checks before a change can be brought, she opined. ."So yes - it is more difficult for women to be in politics than men", Atishi went on to remark. "But, to be fair, it is more difficult for women to do everything in this world, given how unequal this world is.".To illustrate, she recounted that a lawyer friend from Oxford had to plan her marriage and children only after she became a partner, so that her career is not affected. "I am sure her husband or her male colleagues did not have to plan their lives or their career this way", Atishi added. .In her speech, Moitra emphasised that there is a need for women to change the narrative so that they are appreciated beyond gender lines, and given space to prove their merit. .Referring to successful instances of women leadership amid the COVID-19 pandemic in various countries, including New Zealand and Germany, Moitra remarked,"It is not because they had a 'woman leader' they did better. It is because they have created systems where women can rise to the top on merit.".In politics, 2 + 2 does not equal 4.On a broader note, Moitra also spoke of how politics is inherently unfair. She said,."In politics, 2+2 does not equal 4. You can be the smartest person, you can put in 25 years and not get elected and there can be a dimwit who entered yesterday and who wins with a far greater margin. It (politics) isn’t fair. The first thing we need to get out of the equation is that 'this is fair' and that 'this is a level-playing field' - It is not.".Opining that deliberate intent is required to bring in more women in the legislative domain, Moitra went on to assert that there is a need to implement the Women's Reservation Bill.."You don't need a law to tell you the right thing. But unfortunately, in a system like India, structurally certain professions like law and politics are reserved for almost hereditary positions, where it is handed down to you because your father was an MP etc.", she said..NOTA not a solution."The citizen is as liable in a democracy as a politician", Atishi commented, while expressing her opinion on why the none of the above (NOTA) option is not the ideal solution to resolve problems in governance.."We as citizens have to hold people accountable. The solution is not saying 'we don't like anyone.' We have to create political alternatives to say that this is the kind of politics we want, these are the kind of issues we want to stand for.".Moitra weighed in that for Indians who are poor and disenfranchised for most of the year, the elections are a way for them to assert their power over political representatives. As such, it is not ordinarily something that they would be willing to give up.."Most people want to exercise their right to vote... for most of the rural areas, NOTA is not an option. In urban areas, it might be different", Moitra said from her experience..On breaking stereotypes about polticians.There was a need to break the stereotype of what kind of people can be in electoral politics, Atishi observed. .She observed that many people from more privileged backgrounds come with chips on their shoulders. While entering politics, there is an assumption that they deserve preferential treatment for coming down from their high horses or positions of privilege to join politics. Disagreeing with this notion, Atishi said,."I think there is a lesson there for many of us that many who are not as well educated...actually understand grass root politics better, may have stronger connects with the community and may actually be better qualified to be politicians.... ".Everyone has to work hard, she said, adding that just because a person is from St Stephens College or Oxford, it would not make them a better politician..It may be a controversial thing to say - but, I would choose a corrupt politician any day over an honest bureaucrat.Atishi Singh.As the talk drew to a close, Atishi also spoke of how the strength of an elected representative lay in being able to empathise with people and bring that humane perspective to their legislative roles. She went on to comment,."It may be a controversial thing to say - but, I would choose a corrupt politician any day over an honest bureaucrat. Why? Because I think that a politician at least, no matter how bad they may be, is forced to interact with people on a daily basis and understand...For someone into electoral politics, for someone who is working on the ground, when you see people on a day to day basis, and you see the lives that they lead, their struggles...that it is what makes you humane and sensitive,"."Once you have seen that reality, you cannot but bring that perspective, be it into governance or legislation. Because then they are not theories and ideas. These are real people that you know, people you have sat with, had tea with, had meals with. So you understand the real challenges that they face", Atishi added.