Women power

The rise in the percentage of women MPs in the recently formed 17th Lok Sabha has been hailed as a welcome development.

The 17th Lok Sabha that was formed on May 23, 2019 after the sweeping victory of the Bharatiya Janata Party also saw a considerable rise in the strength of women MPs, many of whom are highly qualified and well-known faces.

Although much less than global standards, at 14.6 per cent or 77 out of 542 seats, the Lower House boasts of the highest representation of women ever. Interestingly, the number of women MPs in the BJP has gone up from 30 to 41 (from 10 per cent to 13 per cent) while the Indian National Congress (INC) has seen an increase from 4 to 6 women MPs (from 9 per cent to 11 per cent).

Former Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi, who recently joined the Shiv Sena had earlier tweeted how women have a better winning streak than men.

That seemed evident in this year’s general elections where 715 women contested, and Uttar Pradesh, which holds the maximum number of seats in the Lower House — 80 — saw 11 women getting elected.

A recent analysis by the Association of Democratic Reforms along with the Trivedi Centre for Political Data found that 396 women candidates who contested had attained graduate-level or higher educational degrees and 255 were so-called crorepatis, of whom Hema Malini declared assets worth Rs 250 crore. It has been said time and again that our nation’s progress is reflected in the progress of its women. BJP politico Manoj Tiwari agrees and says, “It is heartening to see the increased participation of women in Parliament. If more women participate, it will help make the society more sensitive and family centric and their issues can be taken up with much more commitment.”

Film actor Aparshakti Khurana adds, “A country can move forward only when its women are empowered. Having female MPs will ensure that the legislation and policies formed by the government are gender inclusive. This will comprehensively ensure gender equality in the country, which is the need of the hour.”

Model Dipannita Sharma also feels it’s a step in the right direction. “It’s encouraging that there are more women MPs in the new government of India. I truly hope, pray and wish that these strong women work towards identifying real problems and eradicate them. It should go beyond making a statement and the choices of women must be respected and supported.” Resonating the same thought, designer Charu Parashar says, “It’s definitely a positive step towards woman empowerment. The voice and concerns of women will surely be heard in Parliament with the increasing strength of woman MPs. What’s even more heartwarming is that the woman voters exceeded the men this time.”

In virtually every field, India is changing. But stereotypes still persist. Appealing for change, wrestler and actor Sangram Singh says, “It’s time to change stereotypical thoughts. It is still a male-dominated world. Women must come to the forefront and we must support every little girl who wants to study and achieve a goal. This will only be possible when women hold equal position in the government.”

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