[Answered] Women make up about half of our population, but they are underrepresented in our political system in proportion to their numbers. Why India is battling with the issue of gender disparity in the political system? Also, suggest some measures that can remove this disparity.

Introduction: Contextual introduction.
Body: Write some reasons for gender disparity in the Indian political system. Also, write some measures to remove this disparity.
Conclusion: Write a way forward.

According to a report of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU, 2020), India ranks 143th globally in terms of representation of women in Parliament. Despite a woman Prime Minister, a President, and a relatively higher percentage of women parliamentarians when compared to some of the other mature democracies in the past, they are underrepresented in our political system in proportion to their numbers.

Reasons of gender disparity:

  • Gender stereotypes: About half the world’s population feel men make better political leaders as per UNDP Gender Social Norms Index. The role of managing household activities have been traditionally assigned to women.
  • Societal norms: Despite many efforts, society has been trying to impose various types of restrictions on women such as widow life, maid service, dynasty tradition, and illiteracy. All these factors prevent the participation of women in politics.
  • Lack of Resources: Because of their low proportion in the inner political party structure of India, women fail to gather resources and support for nurturing their political constituencies. Women do not get adequate financial support from the political parties to contest the elections.
  • Lack of Education: Women’s social mobility is influenced by their education. Due to a lack of political knowledge, women are oblivious of their basic and political rights.
  • Political parties’ environment too is not women-friendly. They have tostruggle hard and face multi-dimensional issues to create space for them in the party. Some of the MeToo allegations are examples of such environment.
  • Inheritance: Despite legal rights for women to inherit paternal property, women are denied property rights. Thus, they lack economic resources required for political participation.


  • Women should be enabled to move outsidetheir stereotypical roles set by societal norms and participate in the decision-making process of the country.
  • The government has reserved certain percentage of seats at state legislature and parliament for women. One way to implement gender quotas is by reserving a certain number of decision-making positions for women.
  • Education and health access can empower women to participate in politics and public sphere.
  • There is need to reinforce right to property of women within the society.
  • Long held prejudices against women need to be dismantled through concerted social campaigns with help of educational institutions, media, religious leaders, celebrities, political leaders etc.

It is the need of the hour in a country like India to have equal participation of all the sections of society in mainstream political activity. Therefore, necessary steps should be taken to promote it. Parliament, being the pinnacle of law-making and the symbolic centre of our democratic aspirations, must reflect this change too.

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