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Women in the Lok Sabha: With fewer of them in House, burden of representation on woman MPs increases

While the number of women candidates for the Lok Sabha elections consistently increased in the last three parliamentary polls even and the number of women MPs rose since 2014 — it declined marginally compared to 2019 — Election Commission (EC) data of the last three Lok Sabha elections show that the turnout of women voters this time was the lowest and that women parliamentarians now have to represent more women.

The 16th Lok Sabha (2014-’19) had 61 woman MPs. It jumped to 78 in 2019 and this time the figure has dropped to 74.

Across the 2014, 2019 and 2024 elections, there has been an upward trend in the number of women contesting, with 669 candidates in 2014, 725 in 2019, and 779 this year. However, three states have reported a consistent decline in women candidates – Uttar Pradesh (from 126 in 2014 to 79 in 2024), Assam (16 to 12), and Rajasthan (27 to 19).

Eight states have reported a consistent rise: Tamil Nadu (55 to 77), Delhi (13 to 24), West Bengal (51 to 72), Karnataka (20 to 42), Odisha (17 to 33), and Maharashtra (69 to 111).

Overall, the total number of candidates has increased in 14 states since 2014 and decreased in 18 states. While in 2014, women accounted for 8.1% of total candidates, in this election they comprised 9.5% of the candidates.

The BJP-led NDA fielded 91 women in the recent elections whereas the Opposition INDIA alliance fielded 97. From 58 candidates in 2014 to 73 in 2019, this is a steep rise for the NDA. It is a decline, however, for the INDIA bloc parties that had fielded 208 candidates in 2014 and 115 in 2019.

At present, each Lok Sabha MP represents an average of 26 lakh people. But women’s representation, that is the average female population represented by each woman MP, stands at 92 lakh.

Read more on indianexpress.com