In Charts: 17th Lok Sabha Elects the Highest Number of Women MPs
With over 14 per cent female MPs, the 17th Lok Sabha will have the highest number of women candidates since 1952.
India’s 2019 General Election was exemplary: it witnessed the highest-ever voter turnout and, for the first time, the female voter turnout equalled the male voter turnout. And just so that you know, nearly half of India's 900-million registered voters are women.
And that has paid dividends: a record 78 out of the total 716 women candidates have been elected to the 17th Lok Sabha.
Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal have elected the highest number of women parliamentarians—11 each. Maharashtra (eight) is next, followed by Odisha (seven) and Gujarat (six).
With over 14 per cent female MPs, the 17th Lok Sabha will have the highest number of women candidates since 1952. In the 16th Lok Sabha, 64 women had won, accounting for 11.4 per cent of the seats in the House.
In 1977, the sixth Lok Sabha had the fewest women MPs, accounting only for 3.5 per cent (nine members) of the house.
The lowest success rate of women candidates was in the 11th Lok Sabha in 1996, when 6.7 per cent (40 of 599) women contestants got elected. The second Lok Sabha in 1957 had the highest success rate of women candidates—48.9 per cent (22 of 45).
Among the political parties, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has the highest number of women winners (41), or nearly 14 per cent of all its members (303) elected to the Lok Sabha.
It is followed by Mamata Banerjee’s All-India Trinamool Congress (nine), which had fielded 41 per cent women candidates—unprecedented for any election ever in the history of Indian democracy.
It is followed by the Congress (seven, or 13.5 per cent of its 52 MPs), YSR Congress (four, or 18 per cent of 22) and Biju Janata Dal (four, or 33.3 per cent of its 12 Lok Sabha MPs).
As many as 27 of 41 sitting women MPs, including Sonia Gandhi, Hema Malini and Kirron Kher, retained their seats in Lok Sabha polls.
However, it was the likes of Smriti Irani and Pragya Thakur who stole the show with their victories over their more renowned rivals.
Other prominent names to enter Parliament are DMK candidate from Thoothukkudi Kanimozhi Karunanidhi and BJP's Rita Bahuguna Joshi, who won from Uttar Pradesh's Allahabad constituency.
By global standards, however, India’s female political participation lags behind major democracies, including its neighbours.
According to data from the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the global average for women in the Lower House of Parliament is 18 per cent.