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Women MLAs – where are they?

Women MLAs – where are they?

By Manasi Kumar

We take elections very seriously in India – after all as the largest democracy in the world who sets world records with them, nobody really does them better than us. And, given the context of the conversations around gender today, it is also important to remember that we as country gave universal suffrage right from the time we became a Republic – a feat that has escaped many first world countries too. However what we have steadfastly failed in doing is elect the women to these places of political power. Our discourse on gender empowerment has largely stopped with voting rights for women and not extended to actual policy making roles. Why does this happen? Is it a lack of winnability because of electoral apathy or non-acceptance under a patriarchal political system that still worries about having women in places of power? Or is it a combination of both that has ensured that our voices have drowned in a crowd?

Lets look at the state of Karnataka which goes to polls in a little more the three months. The numbers throw up an interesting picture – of the 163 women who have been elected to the State Assembly from 1952, the number from 1978 to 2013 is just 55! So historically we elected more women till the 70s than we have in the recent times! 

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