In India, the percentage of women voting in the elections is increasing all the time but they hardly have any presence in the parliament, whether it is Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha.
The enthusiasm to exercise their voting rights has been increasing over the years and as per statistics, it has increased from thirty-eight percent in 1950s to sixty percent in the 1990s. In comparison, it has been only four percent increase during this period for the male population. Another interesting fact is that during voting the gender bias has also declined over time with figures of female voters compared to every thousand male voters increased from seven hundred and fifteen in 1960s to eight hundred and eighty three in 2000s.
Women’s Presence in Parliament
Sadly, there are very few women in the parliament and they make up only eleven percent of both houses. Female voters have a higher percentage of success while it comes to winning the elections with ten percent of all women candidates win their seats as compared to six percent of male candidates. Even then, political parties do not take note of this useful fact in favor of female candidates and are always reluctant to select female candidates.
Women’s Reservation Bill
This negative approach towards women is highlighted by facts such as the opposition of women’s reservation bill that meant a 33% seat allocation by political parties for female candidates but the bill was not allowed to pass. Political parties say that female politicians will be same as male politicians and having presence in the houses will not lead to any major changes in favor of women.
Why Appoint Women?
A study done few years ago speaks to the contrary of what our male dominated political parties believe. In the study, it was found that where women were part of village councils, their presence led to several changes in those villages. In those villages, it was found that more investments were made in infrastructure and higher allocation for education as well as for safe drinking water supplies. In case of places where there is women leadership, we also see that women are more encouraged to continue their studies and careers.
All these details clearly tell us that presence of women in Indian election process is increasing rapidly and they want their presence in public life and in the parliament as well. It is time now that political parties recognize this fact and take initiative themselves.