While Indians identifying them as feminists is on the rise, aiming for gender equality while being bound by patriarchal social fabric stuck across various strata looks inscrutable. Though the Indian women’s movement has achieved much, there is still a long way to go. As old mindsets steeped in patriarchy still prevail, all of us need to recognise the inherited prejudices of our collective consciousness and strive for a change in our mindset.
Despite the longstanding and vigorous women’s movement in India, patriarchy remains deeply infused, influencing the structure of its political and social institutions and determining the opportunities open to women and men. The negotiation and conflict between patriarchy and the women’s movement are central to the constitution of the nation-state.
Taking a look at the ratio of women lawmakers in India compared to men, is not only shocking but also unfolds the ingrained male-domination in the system. Looking at the Election Commission of India’s report, out of the total 4896 MPs/MLAs across the country, only 418 or 9% are women. Among MPs, Lok Sabha has 59 (11% of 543 MPs) and Rajya Sabha has 10% or 23 (10% of 233 MPs) women MPs.
In order to shed some light on the women representations in the state assemblies, here is a compilation of the data of the states with the highest sex ratio in the country. It is not only sad but also deeply concerning on how these states fare:
1. Kerala: Out of 140 seats, only 8 seats are acquired by women which are hardly, 5.7 % women in the assembly, noting the 2016 Assembly election. Notably, the sex ratio of Kerala is 1084.
2. Puducherry: After 20 years of struggle, 4 women MLAs out of 30 legislators elected to the assembly in 2016. Percentage- 13.33%, whereas the sex ratio of the state is 1037.
3. Tamil Nadu: Only 9% of women lawmakers, which is 21 women out of 232 seats. Sex ratio of Tamil Nadu: 996
4. Andhra Pradesh: 34 out of 294 MLAs which is 11.56% of women while the sex ratio is 993.
5. Chattisgarh: 12% women, 11 out of 90 seats are acquired by women where the sex ratio is 991.
6. Meghalaya: 3% women out of 60 seats, only 1 women candidate. Sex ratio: 989.