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Story in numbers: The best show by women candidates is not enough

The 17th Lok Sabha has the highest ever number of women parliamentarians at 78 - with 716 women candidates having contested and logging a success rate of 11%

Business Standard 

A view of Parliament House, in New Delhi. Photo: PTI

and West Bengal have elected the most number of women parliamentarians, 11 each. Maharashtra (8) is the next, followed by Odisha (7) and Gujarat (6).

Among the political parties, the (BJP) has the most number of women winners (41), or nearly 14% of all its members (303) elected to the Lok Sabha. The is followed by the (9), which had fielded 41% women candidates, unprecedented for any election in the history of Indian democracy.

These parties are followed by the Congress (7 — 13.5% of its 52 MPs), the Yuvajana Shramika Rythu Congress (4 — 18% of 22) and the (4 — 33.3% of its 12).

Best-ever performance

The previous best tally of women parliamentarians was in the previous Lok Sabha; 62 women were elected in 2014, accounting for 11.4% of the seats of the House. The 6th Lok Sabha in 1977 had the fewest women MPs, 19 or 3.5% of the strength of the House.

The lowest for was in the 11th Lok Sabha in 1996, when 6.7%, or 40 of 599, women contestants got elected. The second Lok Sabha in 1957 had the highest among — 48.9% or 22 of 45.

India stood 149th on a 2019 list of 193 countries ranked by the percentage of elected women representatives in their parliaments, trailing Pakistan, Bangladesh & Afghanistan, dropping three places since 2018. There were 66 women MPs in the Lok Sabha, occupying 12.6% of its 524 seats, while the world average was 24.3%, as of January 1, 2019.

The representation of women MPs in the 17th Lok Sabha — in terms of the strength of the House — has seen an improvement from 11% in 2014 to 14% in 2019. This is still low compared to countries like Rwanda (61%), South Africa (43%), the UK (32%), the US (24%) and Bangladesh (21%).

First Published: Sun, June 02 2019. 19:59 IST