74 women in 18th Lok Sabha: Less than 2019, well below 1/3rd

Of the 29 newly elected Trinamool MPs, 11 are women; the Congress is represented by 14 women (out of its total of 41)

Trinamool MP Mahua Moitra at a rally, a lone woman surrounded by menwomen (photo: @MahuaMoitraFans/X)
Trinamool MP Mahua Moitra at a rally, a lone woman surrounded by menwomen (photo: @MahuaMoitraFans/X)

NH Political Bureau

The Lower House of Parliament has failed to see a significant rise in the representation of women after the recently concluded 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

As many as 797 women candidates contested the polls this year. However, the number of women getting one of the 543 Lok Sabha seats has actually declined slightly since the 17th Lok Sabha was made up in 2019.

Just 74 women have been elected in 2024, versus the 78 in 2019.

Still, from 2 women MPs in 1998, 12 in 2014 and 11 in 2024, it has been an eventful journey and one which mirrors the place of women in our society, the TMC leaders told The Times of India.

Yes, over the years, the participation of women in the general elections has seen a positive shift, both in terms of the number of candidates contesting and the increasing engagement of female voters. However, that still leaves us far from the one-third of seats for women that the Women's Reservation Bill calls for.

Percentagewise, Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress led the charge for women's representation. Out of the total 29 newly elected MPs from the Trinamool Congress (TMC), 11 are women.

Even national parties are failing to allocate enough of a proportion of females amongst their overall candidate line-up to push that percentage sufficiently high. The BJP fielded the maximum number of female candidates, at 69, followed by the Congress with 41.

Notably, parties like the Naam Tamilar Katchi have achieved equal gender representation with 50 per cent women candidates.

Other parties with significant female representation include the Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas) and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), each with 40 per cent women candidates.

The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) and Biju Janata Dal (BJD) both have 33 per cent female representation, while the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) has 29 per cent. The Samajwadi Party has 20 per cent and the Trinamool Congress (TMC) 25 per cent.

This is the first election since the passage of the Women's Reservation Bill of 2023, mandated to reserve one-third of the seats in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies for women. The law is yet to come into effect.

'While there has been a slow increase in the number of women in the Lok Sabha over the years, India still lags behind several countries. For example, 46 per cent of MPs in South Africa, 35 per cent in the UK, and 29 per cent in the US are women,' an analysis by think-tank PRS says.

According to an analysis of the Election Commission data: 30 BJP women candidates won the polls this time, 14 from the Congress, the TMC's 11, 4 from the Samajwadi Party, 3 from the DMK, and 2 each from the JDU and LJP(R).

With over 13.62 per cent female MPs, the 18th Lok Sabha will have one of the highest number of women members since 1952.

The 17th Lok Sabha had the highest number of women parliamentarians at 78, constituting over 14 per cent of the total strength.

In the 16th Lok Sabha, 64 women were its members, while 52 women were elected to the 15th Lok Sabha.

In contrast, there were 24 women MPs each in the first and the second Lok Sabha.


The usual suspects this year have included the BJP's Hema Malini, Trinamool's Mahua Moitra, the NCP (SP)'s Supriya Sule and the SP's Dimple Yadav retaining their Lok Sabha seats, in addition to new candidates like Kangana Ranaut and Misa Bharti.

The Samajwadi Party made a creditable showing of it too: Its candidate Iqra Hasan won the Kairana Lok Sabha seat with a margin of over 1 lakh votes over BJP's Pradeep Kumar, a three-time MLA and outgoing MP. She's one of those who was a student during the CAA–NRC protests and has gone on to keep her political activism.

The Samajwadi Party's 25-year-old candidate for Machhlishahr, Priya Saroj, and 29-year-old Iqra Choudhary of the Kairana seat, were among the youngest nominees to secure a victory as well. Indeed, of the four youngest candidates this Lok Sabha has, three are women.

A total of 8,360 candidates were in the fray in the parliamentary polls.

With PTI inputs

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