Glaring gap: Only 5 per cent of elected representatives are women in Tamil Nadu
This is a drop from the previous assembly election in 2016, when the State elected 21 women (about nine per cent) into power.
CHENNAI: Though Tamil Nadu has seen strong female politicians including former chief minister J Jayalalithaa, only about five per cent of those who won the Tamil Nadu Assembly Elections 2021 are women. This is a drop from the previous assembly election in 2016, when the State elected 21 women (about nine per cent) into power.
A total of 12 female candidates were voted into power this Assembly elections — seven from the DMK team and five from the AIADMK team. Many of them are incumbent leaders in their respective constituencies or have at least held power previously.
However by demographic, the female voters in the State outnumbered their male counterparts and most parties in the State have advocated for a Women’s Reservation Bill, which mandates 33 per cent female representation in the lower house of the Parliament, Lok Sabha, and in all State Assemblies.
While the advocacy has found some success in local body elections, it has slipped in the Assembly election. All the major parties in the State failed and are guilty of this. However, it is worth noting that less than a tenth of contestants in the 2021 Assembly elections were women within the ruling and opposition parties in Tamil Nadu and it is about 14 per cent even if other parties are included. Less than 8 per cent of the candidates fielded by Makkal Needhi Maiam were women even though they criticised the poor representation of women in politics.
While a significant portion of grass-root party workers are women, the numbers taper significantly higher up the ladder. For example, V Amulu, the DMK representative elected at Gudiyattam has been in politics for 15 years and was a Panchayat Union member earlier. S Vijayadharani the incumbent INC MLA from the Vilavancode constituency was a former president of Tamil Nadu Mahila Congress and was known for enrolling hundreds of women into the party when she was the president.
The 2021 Assembly election in Tamil Nadu has revealed that even when about 50 per cent of the State’s population are women, only five percent are at the helm making policies and decisions for people