BJP, Congress & others: pls give 30-40% tickets to women candidates in 2019 elections

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2019 is the only chance for India in 5 years to increase the percentage of women in Parliament.  For that, we need to act now, by ensuring there are enough women even running for elections.

We urge parties to either decide to field at least 30-40% women candidates or adopt the 40-60 formula, wherein neither sex comprise less than 40% or more than 60% of candidates given tickets to run in the elections.

Currently, only 11% of seats in the Lok Sabha are held by women, even though women make up 49% of India’s population. This is much below the 30% recommended by the UN Economic and Social Council and the 22% global average.

The number is largely a consequence of the small number of female candidates who even ran for Lok Sabha elections in 2014.

The Parliament has not yet passed The Women’s Reservation Bill that proposes reserving 33% of seats for women and doesn’t seem like it will get the pending clearance from the Lok Sabha before the next elections.

But PM Modi, BJP and others in the present Government will have to take note that in the last 5 years, women of India have changed. They do not wish to be taken for granted anymore. So, this time, in the 2019 elections, WOMEN MAY DECIDE TO NOT VOTE for any party that does not show the intent of making India a better a place for them.

Also, if Congress and other parties who have been advocating for passing the Women’s Reservation Bill do not voluntarily field more women candidates, their case for lobbying for passing of the bill will become weaker.

AND, since the number of women voter in India is surging and more women than ever before are turning out to vote,  ALL Parties will have to visibly address women's issues and concerns as well as openly advocate for an equal status of India's female population - if they want the support of this half of their vote bank.

To top it all, The Business Case for More women in Political Leadership is stronger than before:

  1. If the Parliament does not reflect the current trends of more women getting educated and achieving excellence in varied fields, they will face a crisis of credibility. Especially in the light of the #Metoo movement, politicians cannot ignore the lack of representation of women in the decision-making process for much longer.
  2. In 2018, the US as well as several countries around the world elected more women into Parliaments. Now it's India's turn to join in or lose out from a global mega-trend.
  3. Data shows a positive relationship between women ministers and confidence in national governments.
  4. Women legislators are more effective in many ways: (1) they sponsor more bills, pass more laws, and send their districts more money, (2) corruption is lower in countries where a greater share of parliamentarians are women, (3) more women in Government leads to better health outcomes (4) female officeholders adopt a distinctly different approach to legislating than men that results in women providing better representation for their constituents.
  5. Specifically for India, research shows that women legislators raise economic performance in their constituencies by about 1.8 percentage points per year more than male legislators.
  6. If the Government doesn’t show its commitment to address its gender balance, it will lose the rights to demand the private sector to employ and promote more women. This will mean that the proportion of women in the workforce will not increase – and India will lose out on the potential US$ 700 mn – 2.9 trillion it can earn by increasing its Female Labour Force Participation
  7. India will not improve its ranks in the Gender Gap Index. Also, In 2017, India ranked 149 in a list of 193 countries in terms of women’s representation in the lower or single house of parliament as of July 1, 2017 (Inter-Parliamentary Union).  Even countries like Pakistan (90) and Bangladesh (92) rank much higher than India. 

How can the parties get more women candidates: 

  • Option A – Pass the Women’s Reservation Bill at the earliest
  • Option B -  Impose voluntary Party quotas, as is done by parties in more than 50 countries (Gender Quotas Database). (To date, gender quotas have proved to be the single most effective tool for ‘fast-tracking’ women’s representation in elected bodies of government -Atlas of Gender Quotas). Parties can field at least 30-40 per cent women candidates or adopt the 40-60 formula, wherein neither sex comprise less than 40 per cent or more than 60 per cent of candidates given tickets to run in the elections.

But fielding more women is also not be enough - parties will have to show full commitment to women in public office and make sure women run from seats that could get them elected to parliament positions.  

Therefore, requesting all National Party Presidents to ensure they have a fair gender balance when giving out tickets to candidates for the 2019 elections.