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Reality check on India's politics: Only 9% women MLAs and MPs across nation

ADR and NEW's empirical study of MPs and MLAs reveals how skewed the gender representation is in the states and parties

Surbhi Gloria Singh  |  New Delhi 

Female politician, women politician
Woman politician in India. Illustration by Shutterstock

While politicians across India are keen to talk about women empowerment and the political legacies of India’s female politicians like Indira Gandhi, Sushma Swaraj or Nirmala Sitharaman, these women remain largely anomalies in the political landscape. The fact remains - women are underrepresented in state and national decision-making bodies. According to a report by the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) and National Election Watch (NEW), the state of representation of women in the country’s decision-making process continues to be dismal, with only 9% women MLAs and MPs across the country in 2019.

Party-wise political representation of women in India

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had the highest number of women MPs and MLAs at 150, followed by Congress at 91 and Trinamool Congress at 44.

BJP: Out of 1,616 MPs and MLAs, 1,466 or 91% of them are men.

Congress: 916 or 9% MPs and MLAs are women out 1007.

Trinamool Congress: Out of 260 MPs and MLAs, 216 or 83% of them are men.

AIADMK: 19 out of 182 MP and MLAs are female.

BJD: 15 out of 147 MPs and MLAs are female.

CPI(M): 13 out of 119 MPs and MLAs are female.

TDP: 13 out of 127 MPs and MLAs are female.

DMK: 6 out of 94 MPs and MLAs are female.

TRS: 4 out of 105 MPs and MLAs are female.

AAP: 9 out of 93 MPs and MLAs are female.

JD(U): 10 out of 79 MPs and MLAs are female.

RJD: 11 out of 90 MPs and MLAs are female.

SP: 4 out of 71 MPs and MLAs are female.

JD(S): 1 out of 42 MPs and MLAs is female.

BSP: 4 out of 36 MPs and MLAs are female.


Over the years, issues around women’s rights and empowerment, varying from triple talaq to Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, are regular topics of debate in political circles, however, not much effort is put in to enable them to share power with men.

Partywise representation of women politicians

Partywise representation of women politicians


State-wise representation of women in India

ADR and NEW's empirical study of MPs and MLAs reveals how skewed gender representation is in the states.

None of the country’s state Assemblies had more than 10 % women candidates, barring exceptions like Jharkhand (10%), West Bengal (10.30%), Sikkim (10.30%) and Chhattisgarh (10%), which had the highest percentage of women candidates. Delhi had 9.8% women candidates in the fray. The lowest number of women candidates is in Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh (3% each) and Jammu & Kashmir and Manipur (4% each).

16th Lok Sabha status

As of 2014, women make up only 11.8 per cent of the Indian Lok Sabha and 11.4 per cent of Indian Rajya Sabha, according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

In the 16th Lok Sabha elections, BJP gave only 38 of 428 tickets to women candidates, while Congress gave 60 tickets. Other national parties like the BSP fielded 21 women, CPI fielded six, CPI(M) fielded 11 and NCP fielded four.

Politically, women have been making their presence felt in voter turnouts. According to the Election Commission, the female voter turnout was higher than male turnout in 16 states and union territories out of 35 in the 2014 general elections.



First Published: Sat, March 09 2019. 12:35 IST
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