Let’s talk About the Women Candidates in the General Elections 2019!

By Avilasha Sarmah in Editor's Pick 30/04/2019

The Lok Sabha Elections 2019 have seen a higher voter turnout in women voters and every political party echo loudly of “Women Empowerment” in their manifestos: including the Women’s Reservation Bill. The biggest gender glitch, however, is – the lack of women candidates. If 50% of the population of the country is women then there is a lack of proper representation with extremely fewer women in the parliament. Political Parties aren’t even helping the situation as of 2019 by filing a low number of women candidates.


But the more important question that hit back is – is increasing the number of female candidates enough for a gender-balanced representation?


Observing the “Numbers Game”:


In a recent article, The Telegraph mentioned how parties like the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress have a comparatively increasing number of women candidates – 45 out of 374 by the BJP and 47 out of 343 by the Congress. Hence the conclusion was drawn: it is a mere ‘cosmetic change’ with no guarantee of qualitative representation. Interestingly, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the BJD has more than 33% female representation in candidacy.


In case of TMC, there are 18 female candidates out of the 42, making it the party with the highest percentage of women candidates to the polls.


Unlike the national counterparts, the regional parties like RJD (17.6% women), SP (17.2%), AMMK (13%), TRS (11.8%), NCP (11.1%), DMK (10%), has a comparatively higher percentage of female candidates, stated the Wire.


But according to the Deccan Herald, the TTV Dhinakaran-led AMMK, Shiv Sena and AIADMK are among the “worst in terms of ticket distribution” to women.


Is it true Representation?


Is Reservation of seats for women in the Parliament, as most parties have claimed these elections a case of real progress?


Archana Jha, the Centre for Social Research National Program Coordinator, argues that – political parties use women to increase the head-count in political rallies and public gatherings, reducing women to “second-class citizens in party affairs”. She leads the delegation of the National Alliance for Women’s Reservation Bill, calling the political parties support of the Women’s Reservation Bill, a “mere lip service”.


The question also equally lies – whether the increase in the number of female candidates would translate into true empowerment?


There has been a 33% reservation of women in governance, as for instance, in the Gram Panchayat. But most of these ladies are mere ‘nominal heads on paper’, while it is their male counterparts that wield the power.


On an interesting flipside, experts argue, also with the increase in the number of women candidates, supports visibility and creates a positive image in front of ordinary citizens. Interestingly, as The Telegraph states, because there are now more women in politics, the masses also get used to women in power!


The Female Candidate Stats:


Based on the assessment of the NGOs like the National Election Watch, among others, the fourth phase of the General Elections 2019 on 29 April, 2019, recorded the highest number of female candidates which was 10%.


But because of the less number of female candidates being fielded by political parties, there has also been a regional gender gap in political candidacy. Principal constituencies like Delhi made headlines with – Only 18 out of 64 candidates being women! The Congress, BJP and the Aam Aadmi Party all fielded a single woman candidate each in Delhi.


Popular Female Politicians Contesting the 2019 General Elections:


Here’s a brief overview of the significant female candidates that are set to make an impact on the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections:


Sheila Dikshit, the former Delhi Chief Minister is the Congress Candidate and the only female from North East Delhi against the BJP State President Manoj Tiwari.


BJP’s Meenakshi Lekhi will be contesting against Ajay Maken of Congress from the New Delhi constituency.


Interestingly, there are 10 women candidates fighting elections from Delhi as independents or little known parties.


Smriti Irani (BJP) the current Textiles Minister stood from her constituency, Amethi against Rahul Gandhi.


The All India Mahila Congress President, Sushmita Dev stood from the Silchar constituency in Assam.


Sitting MP, Hema Malini (BJP) is contesting from the Mathura constituency.


Sonia Gandhi (Congress) is again contesting the elections from Rae Bareli.


Union Minister Maneka Gandhi (BJP) officially filed her election candidacy from Sultanpur.


Uma Bharti (BJP) will be contesting from the Khajuraho Constituency in Madhya Pradesh.


Former actor turned politician Moon Moon Sen is contesting again from Bankura, West Bengal. as part of Trinamool Congress.


Dimple Yadav (Samajwadi Party) is contesting from Kannauj, Uttar Pradesh.


Disclaimer: Since the General Elections 2019 is held in phases and currently only the 4th phase is ongoing, the entire list of party candidates is inaccessible. The article will be updated accordingly.

Currently curating a creative team for Feministaa! Apart from that I am a wanderer who loves to write. Places call out to me and I enjoy making poetry out of moments. Do check out my book – “When the Cuckoo Called”.


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