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Women's Representation in Politics and Parliament in India


Despite progress in various sectors, women in India still face significant obstacles in political participation, with only 14% representation in Parliament 75 years post-independence.


Historical Position of Women in Politics

Historically, Women faced exclusion from political processes and decision-making. Despite crucial roles during the independence movement, their representation was initially limited. Over time, persistence and activism led to milestones like women becoming Chief Ministers, marking an evolving journey toward inclusive political participation in India.


Changing Participation Over Time

Women's organisations advocated for political representation, proposing a 10% reservation for women in the Lok Sabha and State legislative assemblies as per the National Perspective Plan for Women in 1988. Subsequently, the implementation of the Panchayati Raj Act, with 33% reservation in the local self-bodies for women, marked a notable shift in political participation over time.


Efforts to Improve Women’s Political Participation

India is positioned at 140th among 156 countries in the 2021 Global Gender Gap Index, ranking as the third-lowest in South Asia, following Pakistan and Afghanistan. To tackle this issue, there is a need for legal reforms like capacity-building initiatives, and civil society advocacy to enhance gender equality and promote increased participation of women in politics. Reservations under the Panchayati Raj Act and ongoing efforts by women's organisations target increased representation in decision-making roles, fostering a more inclusive political landscape in India.


Nari Shakti Vandan Act 2023

The Act ensures 33% reservation for women in legislatures and parliament, which is a significant victory for better governance. Despite challenges, the enactment addresses historical gender inequalities and aims to boost women's roles in policymaking. This aligns with global efforts for gender equality, and India's commitment, surpassing the 26% global average, sets an example for nations to enhance women's political representation. Such initiatives are pivotal in shaping a more inclusive political landscape worldwide.


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