In the five new assemblies, women outnumbered 8 to 1
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In the five assemblies newly elected, the number of women remains low as ever. Of the 630 MLAs, only 71 (11 per cent) are women, barely an eighth of the 559 men. The previous assemblies had 67 women among the 630; only Madhya Pradesh has improved on its last count.
The Mizoram assembly will go into its third straight term without a single woman though the number of female voters in the state far outnumber the males. Rajasthan, whose previous assembly topped the list for the proportion of women members in assemblies, a modest 14 per cent, has maintained exactly that, while Delhi too has stayed put at 3 per cent. Chhattisgarh has slipped from 12 per cent to 11 per cent, with one woman fewer. Madhya Pradesh's women MLAs have gone up from 25 to 30 in 230, or from 10.87 per cent to 13.04.
Across assemblies nationwide, the percentage of women members works out to a measly 7. Of Lok Sabha MPs, women account for 11 per cent.
The 2014 general elections could have been the testing ground for the Women's Reservation Bill reserving 33 per cent of the seats, but the amendment bill, passed by the Rajya Sabha, was not tabled in the Lok Sabha.
"No party wants to give tickets to women. The recent cases of rape and gender violence have only changed the discourse in a way that every party talks about wanting to protect women instead of working towards empowering them," says Ranjana Kumari, director of the Centre for Social Research.
In the aftermath of last year's December 16 gangrape, the Congress had promised to strengthen the police force, the BJP had spoken of a "women's security force" and the AAP's manifesto of a "citizens' security force". However, each of them gave 90 per cent of their tickets to men.