Updated: Nov 25, 2021
EVENT DATE : 11 JULY
Focus on women representation was clear in latest cabinet reshuffle, which produced as many as 11 women ministers. This may be a reflection of growing turnout among women voters, which is now equal to men voters. The current Lok Sabha has 78 women MPs (14%), the highest tally ever. This number has almost tripled since India’s first parliament in 1952, when it was a mere 5%.
However the picture seems a lot less rosy when viewed in context of progress in other nations. In 1952, with a mere 5% representation, India led more advanced nations such as UK (3%) and US (2%). However, now the situation is reversed, with representation in UK at 33.9% and US at 27.3%. Between 1998 and 2020, in the global rankings for women’s representation in the national parliaments complied by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), India has fallen from 95th position to 148th position. We rank behind even our much less democratic neighbors such as Afghanistan (71), China (86) and Pakistan (116).
What explains this paradox? With greater engagement of women voters and prioritization of women representation by the government, why are we ranking among the global laggards?