Is democracy for ‘she’? Long war to fight for women’s rights and representation

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In the year 1990, the United Nations Economic and Social Council upheld the target of 30% women representation in world politics by 1995. Currently, 119 countries of the world have never had a woman leader. In India, women constitute 14.4 % of the lower house. A question is left to wonder, the gender which constitutes roughly half of the total population, why is its representation in politics marginalised?

Women representation in Indian parliament has never crossed a bar of 15%. Rajya Sabha has never had 12% women representation. In the 17th Lok Sabha election of 2019, 78 women became part of the parliament, which is a huge rise as compared to the 1st Lok Sabha Election of 1957. However, the winning rate of women contesting in elections has decreased steadily. Only 11% of 716 women contestants were able to secure their seats. Earlier in 1957, 49% of women candidates won the seats.

Political parties have also contributed to their share of widening this gender disparity. During the 2019 election, 7207 men were given tickets by political parties, whereas, only 716 were given to women. Women constitute just 17% of the candidates from parties like BJP, AAP, INC & SP. Due to the lack of support by political parties, and to ensure their representation one-third of women contest independently.

The situation gets even bleaker when a report of 2008, suggests that there were no women as a Member of the State Assembly in states like- Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram Nagaland and Union Territory of Puducherry.

Similarly, world politics is not any better for women. Although, women contribute to about 25% of world parliaments, 21% of Head of State. Nations like Yemen, Tonga, Vanuatu, have no representation of women in their parliaments. 

United Nations data suggests an annual increase rate of women candidates is 0.52% and by 2063, the world will be able to achieve an equal ratio of men to women in world politics. Till then, it is a long war to fight for women’s rights and representation.

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