Women In Politics – 17 years and counting…

If you wish to understand how numbers are misunderstood as progress, you must look at the percentage of women’s representation in the global political sphere. Though the representation has doubled in the last 20 years (1995 – 2015) but it has only translated to 22% of women in the parliaments today. Street protests, war of words, online and offline campaigns, all have been tried and been continuing to get the gender balance in the legislatures but the success rate has been slow.


In India, the growth chart has followed the suit and the doubled representation has only been able to bring 12% of women seated in decision making chambers. The recent state polls in the states of Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Kerala reflected that only 10% of the tickets were issued to women. This is when two of the states West Bengal and Kerala have leading female chief ministers like Mamta Banerjee and Jayalalitha.

News reports suggests that the increase in allotment of tickets to women has been negligible as the figure remains same for Kerala (8%) and Assam increased it marginally by just 1%.

The Women’s Reservation Bill is extremely important to achieve the gender balance in political institutions so that women are allowed to contribute to the policies which are being framed for women beneficiaries. Lack of women’s voices at the decision making level are taking away the meaningful and substantial recommendations that can increase the benefits of women centric schemes.

It’s time to follow leading examples like Rwanda where women have outnumbered their male counterparts and have 62% representation in the parliament. What is required today is systematic boost for the increased representation and not just mouth piece presence in the political institutions. Women have shown excellence in all the fields and it’s time for a collective effort to encourage them in the political sphere. They have proved it too at the local municipal councils or the panchayati raj where women have maximum representation and have been doing amazing work at the village level. A UN Report also quoted that water related discussions and projects were 62% more in the women led panchayats compared to ones led by males.

2011 State Polls
State Total Number of Seats Won by Women Candidates
Tamil Nadu 225 16
Bengal 285 33
Kerala 126 7
Assam 126 14

Centre for Social Research has played a vital role in the campaign to support Women’s Reservation Bill. Dr. Ranjana Kumari has been the leading voice when it comes to encouraging women in politics. We have a firm belief that till the time women’s voices are not included in the decision making forces at national level, the status of women cannot be uplifted.

CSR’s 33% campaign is present on social media platforms. For more information, visit us on  Timefor33percent and follow us on @Time33Percent.

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