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Why Should Women Vote?

Apr 08, 2014

Women’s groups question the call to vote given the small percentage of women candidates being fielded by Indian political parties.

New Delhi: Women’s groups are questioning the call to vote due to the low percentage of women candidates fielded by parties in the upcoming lok sabha elections. Peeved by the non passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill in the parliament, women’s groups are skeptical and are questioning the very need to vote in democratic India whose founding fathers’ dream of an India with equal opportunities for all has never been met even after 65 years of independence.

“When our presence is not considered important in the parliament, when decisions about our future our taken without consulting us, why should we cast our votes to elect another group of politicians who do not believe in the cause of women empowerment in this country,” said Dr. Ranjana Kumari, Director, Centre for Social Research.

According to data released by Empowering India portal, the percentage of women winning in elections is far higher than men as in the 2009 national elections, the success rate for women candidates was 11% as compared with the success rate of 6% for men. Despite this, parties are still unwilling to field more women candidates. The first Lok Sabha in 1952 witnessed a 4.4% representation of women in the lower house of parliament which could only increase to a meager 10.9% in the fifteenth Lok Sabha in 2009 (source- Election Commission of India)

“The Constitution of India promulgated in 1952 promised, to secure to all its citizens justice, social, economic and political and equality of status and of opportunity. Despite this, women in India continue to be grossly under-represented in the legislatures, both at the national and the state levels. Female representation in the lower house (Lok Sabha) of the Indian Parliament is still much less than the world average of 20%, lower than the critical mass required introducing gender parity in political decision-making and legislation. The number of female representatives in legislative bodies in most of the states in India is also below the 20% mark reflecting a pan- Indian gender exclusion from electoral participation and quality representation,” further added Dr  Kumari.

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