Women representation and their active participation in Indian poitics 



The development of any nation depends on the status of women in the society. Men and women both are important part in any community but only women have to undergo with gender discrimination type of situation Fifty percent of the world’s population comprises of women. In this (pitrpradhan samaj) male dominated society, women have always suffered. We need to make the women of our country strong in every aspect be it social,economical psychological or political. In a country like India, on one hand the women are said to be the goddess as a country itself is said as BHARAT MATA with a very popular slogan as ‘Bharat mata ki jai’and on the other hand she is ill-treated,and discriminated. Women dealing with less political participation in India is one of the major problem today.

 The United Nations report states that “woman constitutes half of the world population, perform nearly 2/3 of works hours, receive one tenth of the world’s income and own less than one-hundredth percent of the world’s property.” Not all women are given with chance of being the part of election and to associate with political parties. Many a times due to lack of awareness and education women don’t come forward and those who does are given lower position.

This article aims to examine the past and Present  situation of women related to political participation. It aims to explore the journey of women in Indian politics from the pre-independence era to post independence era and the mordern politics, laws and legislation made for women to be actively participative in Indian poltics and also talks about the problems faced by women in getting equal political participation as men. Its highlights the stereotype thoughts of society for women by men and sometimes by women itself and that’s the reason women being supressed and social evils such as sati pratha,was prevelant. Women were not allowed to step out of their house,they were sometimes were killed for the sake of Family honour by their own family member. 


“Woman is the companion of man, gifted with equal mental capacities. She has the right to participate in the minutest details in the activities of man, and she has an equal right of freedom and liberty.”

               ____ Mahatma Gandhi

Political participation of women does not only includes the right to vote but also many things beyond it like membership in parliament,electoral campaigning, attending meetings, holding of party positions, contesting elections, holding portfolios participation in decision making as men do. India being the largest democracy in the world bann the discrimination based on gender under Article 14 of Indian constitution which also enhanced the political participation and their representation of women in politics.

The involvement and partcipation of women in indian politics narrates the story of its history,challenges and their progess despite of many evils and depreviation as related to gender,caste class,religion etc. From the fearless women  in pre independence era fought for freedom of india,whose partcipation led crucial role in freedom struggle who walked parallel to men and let India gain independenceand acted as catalyst ,to the modern era women leader  shaping the future of the country.

The beginning of 20th century marked women stepping out of their daily cofined domestic house chores and asserting their worthy presence in freedom struggle. Sarojini Naidu, Sucheta Kriplani, and Aruna Asaf Ali were tangible example of women’s participation in Indian politics. Their partcipation was not sudden it was the result of their dedication their passion and hard work as well it was the outcome of early reform movements of the 19th century initiated by Raja Ram Mohan Roy and Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar,which aimed to address issues like sati, child marriage, and women’s education,widow remarriage etc which motivates women to think beyond their daily house chores and four wall of the house as they were always were under control to their fathers, husbands and guardians just for the sake of Family honour.

And the present scenario included women partcipation in indian politics not just confined to the role of voters but also to the their active participation in membership in parties and holding elections.

Political participation of women can be measured to three main dimensions as their right to vote, their participation as elected representatives and their participation in decision making. 

History of women in indian politics 

The roots of the present always lies in the past. So the political participation of women can be known only by looking into the past history of it.

The history of women in politics can be traced from mughal period where Razia sultan was First and only female leader of Delhi sultanate. Rani durgavati ruled gondwana during 16th century. Rani chennamma queen of Kittur in Karnataka.

Then Rani laxmi bai(queen of Jhansi) in the rebellion of 1857 with a famous quote “Khoob ladi mardani woh toh Jhansi wali rani thi”.Begum Hazrat Mahal Another significant leader during the 1857 rebellionup, played a key role in the uprising in Lucknow.

Post mughal period or starting of British colonial period the partcipation of women emerged out of some prominent leaders which was not spontaneous occurrence but was the hardwork, dedication of those women who put efforts to step out of their houses. Starting from the Sarojini naidu given with the title of “the Nightingale of india” was the first Indian women became president of Indian National Congress and played a significant role in civil disobedience movement. Kamla devi chattopadhyay was one of the  prominent leader during the non cooperation movement contributed in freedom struggle parallel to men .Avanti Bai Gokhale, Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay,Rukmini Laxmipati, Lilawati munshi and many more participated in salt march movement. Women leader like Savitri bai phule,Vijaylakshmi pandit,Hansa jivraj mehta,Muthu laxmi reddy gave their eminent support in bringing reform in various field like education,social reform which played a significant role in enhancing the status of women in society.

In modern strata, women’s participation in politics significantly enhanced,women are holding important political and administrative offices and portfolios at centre,state and local level such as Prime Minister,President, governors, chief ministers, and ministers in cabinet and state governments, presiding officers of legislative bodies, judges of supreme court,high court,session court. In 1966 Indira Gandhi was the first woman Prime Minister of India and emerged one of the most prominent leaders bought emergency, bought mini constitution by 42nd amendment act 1976,green revolution in country and many more things. Pratibha Devi Singh Patil was first woman President of India, Late Shushma swaraj former foreign minister . Not only at central level but at the state level too women leader emerged as Jaya Lalita, Sheila dixit, Mayawati,Vasundhara raje etc. In present day Mamta Banerjee chief minister of Bengal, Nirmala sitaraman Finance minister,Smriti irani Minister of women and child development,Anandiben patel governor of Uttar Pradesh etc.

Laws and legislation for participation of women in India 

In Part III of the Indian Constitution which guarantees the Fundamental Rights of Indian citizen. Article 14 guarantees the right to equality. Article 15 prohibits discrimination on the ground of religion, race, sex or place of birth. According to Article 15 part 3, there shall be nothing which shall prevent the country from making any special provisions for the benefit and upliftment of women and children. Article 16 confers the right of equality of opportunity in the matters of public employment. 

Part IV of the Constitution consist of Directives Principles of State Policy and the Directive Principles which are of the concern for the women given in Article 39(a)concern with right to adequat means of livelihood equally for men and women.

The Constitution (73rd Amendment Act 1992) included the reservation of seats for women in Panchayats. This amendment was made in order to improve the position of women especially at the village level and thus, providing an opportunity to women in the political field. In addition, Part IX- A has been added to the Constitution by the 74th Amendment Act, 1992,which  provides for the setting up of 3 types of Municipal Corporations. Of the total seats (including the seats reserved for women belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) to be filled by direct election in every Municipality, not less than 33% shall be reserved for women and such seats may be allotted to them by rotation to different constituencies in a Municipality. The Fundamental Rights and Directive Principle have made extensive safeguards in favor of women.

Government role in enhancing women partcipation 

One step towards the active partcipation of women in politics is women reservation bill introduced on 19th September 2023.

Women’s reservation bill also known as NARI SHAKTI VANDAN ADHINIYAM , a legislative proposal in India aim at promoting gender equality in politics of India is now being passed by PARLIAMENT with majority of votes and with the assent of Indian president SRIMATI DROUPADI MURMU on 19TH SPETEMBER 2023. By the CONSTITUIONAL AMENDMENT 108TH the bill is introduced with  aim to reserve 33% of seats in the LOK SABHA (Lower House) and STATE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLIES for women in India.  The main objective is to enhance women’s representation in decision making bodies and address the historical under representation of women in Indian Politics.

Despite being introduced many times since 1990s the bill is finally passed with sparking debates on the issue related to the bill and political difference between men and women.  Women have lower representation at centre (Parliament) as well as at state level(state assemblies). In Lok Sabha only 15 % of its total members are women  consisting 78 women members out of a total of 543but as per the bill 181 seats out of 543 that is 33% of seats would be reserved for women in Lok Sabha under which 1/3rd seats are reserved for Schedule tribes and schedule caste .Many state assemblies in India too have lower representation of women. So to remove this political inequality the bill is introduced and passed. It will also look at the concerns of women empowerment  participation in national policy formation and governance etc.


The Women’s Reservation Bill, which proposes to reserve 33 percentage of seats for women in legislative bodies,have a very great significance in today’s scenario as:

PROMOTE GENDER EQUALITY: The bill aims to solve the problem of historical gender imbalances and under representation in politics. By reserving seats for women, it seeks to ensure more participation of women in decision making bodies.

WOMEN EMPOWERMENT: Increased representation give fair and good chance to participate more and more. It give more opportunity to women and empower them. It make them confident too.

CHANGING SOCIETAL MINDSET: The bill give women a greater chance to participate in decision making which definitely challenges the traditional gender norm but by the passage of time the societal idea and mindset of people has changed and will change too.

ROLE MODEL AND INSPIRATION: Having more women in politics can inspire other women to enter politics and take leadership positions. This can create a positivity and a step forward towards empowerment and representation.

GLOBAL TREND: Many countries have implemented similar measures to improve gender equality and representation of more women in politics, Thus shows the global efforts to promote gender equality. 



1. It promotes gender equality in politics as give fair chance to take part in decision making and policy making.

2. This helps to break stereotypes and orthodox mindset of society and encourages equal representation.

3. The bill is a step towards a more equal and just society.

4. It is about using effectively the full potential of women for betterment of society,its governance and progress.


1. Reserving seats for women would go against the Constitution’s guarantee of equality if a reservation were implemented, women would not be able to compete on their own merits.

2. Women’s Reservation Bill is the fear of political dynasties or nepotism within families. There could be a risk that seats could be occupied by female relatives of male politicians, rather than giving chance to capable women.

3. They argue that changing to this new system could be confusing and create trouble.


Undoubtedly today, there is considerable increase in the percentage of women as voters. The participation of women as voters is almost equal to men. But the political participation of the women is not equal to men and so they are still not able to get a share equivalent to men in organization that require decision making which emerge as one of the major problem . Still politics is dominated by men at every level of participation and women have not been regarded as significant part of the political arena. The representation of women as policy and decision makers in the legislative bodies is very low. In legislative bodies women have been demanding more space but most nations in the world have failed in providing due space as well as representation to women in their political system. Thus, from local level to global level, leadership and participation of the women in the political fields should be increased. Government of India to search for remedial measures to improve the political status of the women. The bill proposing quota for women is a step forward in mainstreaming women in politics by giving them representation but now they themselves have to come forward. Because no body is going to do so for women they themselves have to come forward as the person who is going through the situation only can understand the situation.

Since a woman was begun to be considered to be an ‘abala’ (dependant)when we call abala became sabala,(empowered) all those who are helpless will become powerful.


1. What are the factors becoming hindrance in participation of women in Indian poltics 

2. Are the women interested in politics or not? 

3. Is the government taking initiative to empower women ?

4. Are the women aware of their rights?

                                        Arjita singh 

                               1st year BBA LLB ( hons.) 

                    Babasaheb bhim rao amedkar university lucknow 

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