India's electoral landscape is poised for a major gender shift. Of course, the difference between male and female voters still exists, but compared to the initial elections in the country, it has reduced significantly. Considering the current trend of increasing participation of women in elections, Soumya Kanti Ghosh and Anurag Chandra of SBI have estimated that by 2029 the voting percentage of women will beThey may exceed men and by 2047, their participation in total voting may reach 55 percent. Indeed, more than 70 percent of eligible women voted in the five recent assembly elections. The trend was higher in rural India. Many social researchers link this trend especially with the 33 per cent reservation given to women in local bodies in the country as well as the movements of self-help groups. Some people give credit for this to those development plans which give importance to women. However, a woman's rightActivists also regret that despite being an important group of people, the importance given to women is transactional, that is, the idea is to grab their votes by starting schemes for them. Other researchers are of the opinion that women are yet to have any Voters of a particular party are yet to emerge. As for the increase in rural women voters, according to a political economist, after the Covid-19 period, rural men returned to big cities for work, but women could not return, hence due to the absence of men.The number of women voters has increased. However, despite Indian women's better balanced participation in the franchise, various institutional and structural challenges confront them in the electoral arena. Apart from the indirect impact of patriarchy, political parties often shy away from giving women a fair share in elections. According to a study, most of the women who get tickets in elections have family political connections. In 2019, 41 percent of all women candidates and 30 percent of those who won were dynastic., Not only this, the increasing needs of money and power have also made the electoral field difficult for women. In the 2019 general elections itself, only 719 women contested the election, which was nine percent of the total candidates. Of these, 78 won, which is 14.4 percent of all winners. This ratio is less than the South Asian average of 18.9 percent. According to a 2023 UNDP report, women's political empowerment leads to accountable and transparent governance, reduces the risks of civil war and political violence, and breaks down gender stereotypes.Is. This has a positive impact on GDP, and is also helpful in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Talking about India, a study has shown that women representatives perform better on economic indicators than their male counterparts. They are less likely to be criminal and corrupt. A 2013 study suggests that over time, women's political empowerment can increase women's presence in the economy and labor market. Globally, only 26.5 percent of members of the single or lower parliamentary houses are women., which has increased by just 0.4 percent in the last six years. Only six countries, where there are both houses, have more than 50 per cent women in either house. In India too, only 10.5 percent of the total MPs in 2021 were women, while the average in state assemblies is nine percent. Clearly, gender equality in politics is important not only for justice and fairness, but also for a more stable and sustainable economy. For accountable governance, whether in India or elsewhere, women must be empowered as voters, election workers, candidates and Should come forward as a policy maker.
—Vijay Garg Retired Principal Educational Columnist MALOUT punjab