Lok Sabha Polls '24: Will The Female Vote Bridge Politics Gender Gap?

With Lok Sabha elections fast approaching, an encouraging trend is emerging in India's political landscape: the rising participation of women voters. However, the participation of women at the forefront of politics remains bleak.

Julisha Moraes
New Update
Women In Politics, voters, elections

Representative image belongs to SheThePeople

The Election Commission of India has announced the schedule for the upcoming Lok Sabha Elections 2024 and some State Assembly elections. The Election Commission stated that there are 96.8 crore voters in India this year with male voters accounting for 49.7 crore while women stand at 47.1 crore. Remarkably, 12 States have shown an unmissable trend where the number of women voters surpasses men. A recent State Bank of India economic research department (ERD) report predicts that by 2029, women voters all over India could surpass men, with 37 crore female voters making up the population.


The SBI study shows that women are emerging as formidable forces, taking centre stage in the sphere of elections. In an era marked by evolving socio-political landscapes, a captivating narrative is unfolding across electoral landscapes in India. However, this trend is only limited to voters, as women in candidacy and leadership remain underrepresented in India's parliament.

Women Candidates Also Deserve A Chance

The SBI report predicted that in 2047, women's voter turnout might increase to 55% and men's voter turnout might fall to 45%. As many as 67.18% of women voters cast a vote in the 2019 general election in contrast to 67.01% of males, showing a remarkable trend in increasing female participation. Yet, when it comes to representation at the forefront, women continue to be relegated to the sidelines.

For example, recent reports have shown that Tamil Nadu has shown a majority of female voters as compared to male, however, six out of the 39 Lok Sabha constituencies in the State have no women candidates contesting the elections. These constituencies are Central Chennai, Pollachi, Salem, Thanjavur, Vellore, and Villupuram.

Meanwhile, Delhi hosts 14.3% of female MP representation in the parliament, even though the number of voters has been increasingly active election by election. Just nine women have been elected as MPs from Delhi since 1951. The maximum number of women elected in each poll was two — that too only thrice in 1971, 1996 and 1998. 

In Haryana, only six women have ever been elected in the last 58 years of voting history. Out of the 1,197 members across 14 legislative assemblies, only 87 have been women. The State shows a representation of only 7.2% of women despite the high number of women voters. Of the state’s 1.99 crore Lok Sabha electors, nearly 93 lakh are women.


2019 Lok Sabha Gender Disparity

A recent study by Chunaav, a non-government political consultancy firm, revealed the saddeningly low representation of women Members of Parliament in India. The report showed that women make up less than 15% of constituencies in the Indian parliament. Some States and Union Territories have zero representation of women.

Out of the 543 parliamentary constituencies, only 78 are held by a woman as per the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections. National parties like the BJP and Congress, who have been devising several women-centric schemes to win over female voters, have shown little inclination to fielding ample women candidates.

Out of the 303 seats won by the BJP in 2019, 41 were won by a female candidate. In the case of Congress, only 6 women candidates were able to secure a win out of the 52 seats won in the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections. 

women candidates
Image: Poonam Yadav, founder of Chunaav, Linkedin

The Chunaav data reveals the highest number of women candidates are present in West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh, both States constituting 11 women MPs as compared to 31 male MPs and 69 males respectively. West Bengal's female-to-male MP ratio is 26.2%, and UP's is 13.8%


Meanwhile, the highest rate of female representation from a State is present in Odisha, where women make up 33.3% of the assembly. Next is Chhatisgarh, where there are three female MPs as compared to 8 male MPs, thus making up 27.3% of the State's constituencies.

The lowest representation comes from 14 assemblies where there are no women MPs. Meanwhile, Kerala has only 5% of women MPs representing their constituencies, Telangana has 5.9% of women MPs, Karnataka and Assam both have 7.1% of women MPs, and Tamil Nadu has 7.7% of women MPs.

In Meghalaya and Tripura, women make up 50% of the parliament, as there are only 2 MPs from those States, one male and one female. Other than these two cases and Odisha, most other States are far below the quota proposed by the Women's Reservation Bill 2023 which promises 33% seats to women.

Case Study: The Unmissable Surge Of Women Voters In Delhi

The capital city boasts a total of 1.48 crore voters, with 67.30 lakh women. The Special Summary Revision of 2024 offers opportunities for voters to rectify their particulars and raise objections to any incorrect inclusions. This inclusive and proactive drive places women at the forefront, signalling their resolve to engage actively in shaping the electoral landscape.

SheThePeople spoke with young women about their voting experience and how they view the changing electoral landscape in India. Pavi Vyas, who is a college student and works as an intern at a media publishing house, stressed what it means to have a voice through vote today. "I believe I offer an integral contribution when I cast a vote, and I have seen the changing viewpoints of my batchmates as well who are now taking a keen interest in politics, something that was lacking earlier."


According to Oshi Saxena, a Delhi-NCR-based writer and editor, said, "Women, who comprise a significant part of the voting population, are now actively participating in the electoral process. This change is driven by higher literacy rates, increased awareness of political matters, and a stronger emphasis on women's empowerment. Political parties have recognised the influence of women in shaping election outcomes. They are now addressing women-centric concerns like healthcare, education, and safety, while also promoting women candidates for prominent roles to signal inclusivity."

Case Study: Coimbatore's Empowered Electorate

Turning our gaze to the vibrant city of Coimbatore, nestled in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, the electoral scenario paints a picture of women's increasing engagement. As per the draft electoral roll released in 2023 by Collector Kranthi Kumar Pati, women voters have outshone their male counterparts.

In a district with a total of 30.4 lakh voters, the statistics reveal 15.5 lakh women voters compared to 14.9 lakh men. Coimbatore, comprising ten assembly constituencies, reflects an encouraging trend where women assert their political influence, making their voices heard at the heart of the democratic process.

The increasing influence of women in elections challenges conventional narratives and breathes fresh life into the democratic process. As women continue to register in electoral rolls in greater numbers, their active engagement sparks hope for more inclusive and representative governance.

However, the rate of women candidates contesting elections remains low. The recent State assembly elections held in Telangana, Rajasthan, Mizoram, Uttar Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh revealed that major political parties like the BJP and Congress had fielded only 12% of women to represent their parties.

As women voters are taking centre stage to steer the wheel of policymaking, it is also time that women are equitably represented in the parliament. It is high time women's voices are not limited to female-centric schemes and policies but also given a platform to contest at the forefront. The proportion of female representatives has to be elevated to balance it with the surge of female voters.

Views expressed by the author are their own

women in politics Women voters lok sabha elections 2024