It was a woman who took to the skies on December 19, 1961 and announced to hundreds and thousands of Goans that the sun had actually set on the 451-year-old Portuguese colonial regime. Libia Lobo, who was in her early 30s at the time, used to run an underground political radio station Voz de Liberdade (Voice of Liberation) from the forests bordering Portuguese-held Goa and the Indian states of Maharashtra and Karnataka. At the insistence of Lt. General J.N. Chaudhari, Lobo boarded an Indian Air Force plane to broadcast the news of the liberation of Goa by the Indian armed forces to the now-former Portuguese colony.
Circa 2022, the status of women in political life in Goa appears to have plummeted far from the heights that Lobo had soared to in 1961. The 2017 assembly elections saw just two women MLAs elected to office, Congress’ Jennifer Monseratte from Taleigao and BJP’s Alina Saldanha from Cortalim. Both were sitting MLAs. Jennifer, a housewife, is the spouse of local political strongman Atanasio Monserrate, while Saldanha, a teacher, was first elected to the state assembly in 2012, months after her husband Mathany Saldanha, who was a cabinet minister in a BJP-led coalition government, died in office that year.