The missing women – The Embassy organises seminar on female participation in Indian politics

mennesker - Photo:Royal Norwegian Embassy in New Delhi
Photo credit: Royal Norwegian Embassy in New Delhi

The lack of women in state assemblies and parliament was the focus when the embassy organized a seminar on women's political participation in India this month.

The seminar gathered representatives from politics, academia, think tanks, the UN, activists and foreign missions. With his elaborate data, Gilles Verniers, assistant professor at Ashoka University, outlined the historical development and current situation for Indian women in politics. Tara Krishnaswamy motivated the room with her analyses and l engagement. She is a director in the private sector, but established Shakti this autumn, -an apolitical movement whose purpose is to get more women into politics. Angellica Aribam shared experiences from her time as a young aspiring female politician for the Congress Party.

Several of the seminar participants believed that, given the Indian context, the introduction of quotas is needed to get more female elected representatives at the national and state level. India already has quotas for women at the local level, which has significantly increased women's political engagement there. However, the local political arena is not a recruitment base for women in higher-level positions.

Although this year's parliamentary elections only slightly increased the number of women representatives, there is a light on the horizon. Never before, have more women voted in elections. The election commission received praise from the participants for their targeted work on getting more women registered as voters. Several political parties have become aware of women as voters, and increased the focus on women in their campaigns. At the same time, women as politicians, or the lack of them, have received increasing attention in public discourse during this year’s campaign. This gives hope for girls of the future.