David Lal, Abhiruchi Ojha, Nidhi S. Sabharwal


Women’s under-representation in politics continues to be a matter of debate across the globe. Although some countries have measures to increase the level of representation but many still do not have. India, despite six decades of independence could not provide any legal support to increase the share of women’s representation in the lower house of parliament. This article explores the perpetual under-representation of women in Indian parliament. As the recently held 14th General elections in India situated a stable government at the centre, however, it still has lesser women representatives. The election commission reports from 1957 to the recently held general elections in 2014 highlights emancipation of women from mere absent electorate to active voters. Further, the data also underlines a shift from mere active voters to vibrant candidates, as the number of women candidates is increased manifold. Despite these positive shift from becoming ‘active voters’ and ‘vibrant candidates’, women are unable to capitalize the increase in number of candidates to members of parliament. Undoubtedly, the traditionally placed patriarchical society in India is still unwelcoming when it comes to elect women as the political representatives. Apart from patriarchy as the important reason other various political and non-political reasons are also responsible for this democratic deficit. The substantial representation of women is missing in proportion to their population. While we celebrate the vibrancy of Indian democracy, the issue of under-representation of women continues to be a major challenge for Indian democracy.


India, Women in Parliament, Political Participation and Representation.

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Journal of South Asian Studies
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