Elections, Lok Sabha, Stories, Women

Data: Number of Women MPs Down to 74 in 18th Lok Sabha; Women Contestants at Less Than 10%


The 2024 Lok Sabha general elections were the first after the Women’s Reservation Bill was passed by the parliament in September 2023. Though the act awaits implementation, data from the 18th Lok Sabha elections suggests that both the share of women contestants and women MPs has marginally declined.

In the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) emerged as the single largest party, securing 240 seats but falling short of the 272-seat majority mark. The BJP, along with its National Democratic Alliance (NDA) partners, collectively won 292 seats, ensuring a third consecutive term for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. On 09 June 2024, Modi was officially sworn in for his third term as Prime Minister of India. The swearing-in ceremony also witnessed the induction of 72 cabinet ministers. Within the newly constituted Council of Ministers, there were a total of seven women, comprising two cabinet ministers and five Ministers of State.

2024 Lok Sabha elections were the first after the passage of the Women’s Representation Bill

The 2024 Lok Sabha general elections were the first general election held after the passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill, also known as the Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam by both Houses of the Indian Parliament in a special session held in September 2023. The Bill aims to reserve 33% of seats in the Lok Sabha and state Legislative Assemblies for women, including the seats reserved for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. The passage of the landmark legislation was celebrated as a defining moment in India’s democratic journey. However, it will take effect after the next census, following which delimitation will be carried out to reserve seats for women for a period of 15 years.

Number of Women MPs has fallen in 2024 compared to 2019

Despite the passage of the bill to improve the representation of women in legislatures and the debate over this issue, women’s representation in the 18th Lok Sabha has actually fallen, as revealed by the data. Out of the total 543 Members of Parliament (MPs) elected to the 18th Lok Sabha, women constituted only 74, which is 13.6% of the total. This is down from 78, or 14.4%, elected in the 2019 elections, the highest ever in the history. Nonetheless, the share of women MPs has increased from about 5.5% in 1957 to above 10% since 2009.

At least 1 in 4 MPs elected in Chhattisgarh, West Bengal and Himachal Pradesh is a woman

Across states, the share of women out of total MPs elected to the 18th Lok Sabha elections was above 27% in Chhattisgarh and more than 25% each in West Bengal and Himachal Pradesh while Uttarakhand and Madhya Pradesh, the share was 20%. On the other hand, no woman was elected in Kerala while only 7 out of 80 elected in Uttar Pradesh were women, accounting for 8.75%. The share was even lower in Punjab and Assam.

Even though Odisha was the only state to have 33% women MPs in the 17th Lok Sabha, it dropped to 19% in the 18th Lok Sabha. Meanwhile, its neighbouring state of West Bengal, which has a woman Chief Minister, has elected at least 25% women MPs since the 16th Lok Sabha. Bihar also recorded the highest share of women in the last ten elections. Similarly, Tamil Nadu with a 12.8% share of Women MPs also saw the highest-ever share. At the same time, states like Maharashtra and Gujarat which saw an increase in the share of women MPs until the 17th Lok Sabha, saw a drop in share in the 18th Lok Sabha.

Many women contest independently, but only a handful have won

Out of the 74 women MPs elected to the 18th Lok Sabha, 31 are from the Bharatiya Janata Party, which translates to nearly 42% of the total women elected. On the other hand, MPs from the BJP account for 44% of the total MPs elected to the 18th Lok Sabha. As the number of seats won by the BJP dropped from 303 in the 17th Lok Sabha to 240 in the 18th Lok Sabha, the number of women MPs from the party dropped from 41 (out of 78) to 31 (out of 74). In the 16th Lok Sabha too, there were 30 women MPs from the party. During these three Lok Sabha terms, the number of women MPs from the Indian National Congress (INC) was 4, 6, and 13, down from more than 20 in the 15th Lok Sabha.

No woman given a ticket for the 18th Lok Sabha elections from the Aam Admi Party and no woman from the party has ever won a seat from the party.

Even though many women contest independently, there have been only a few occasions when they won. There was only one independent woman MP each in the 12th and 13th Lok Sabha and two women MPs in the 17th Lok Sabha. In the 18th Lok Sabha elections, about 250 to 300 women contested independently constituting about 30 to 35% of the women contestants, but no one won.

In terms of the share of women MPs out of all MPs elected from a party, All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) had at least 30% women in the 16th, 17th and 18th Lok Sabha sessions as compared to 10 to 13% representation in BJP and INC.

Communist Party of India (CPI) and Communist Part of India Marxist (CPIM) which once had women MPs elected when even the major parties like BJP and INC didn’t (6th, 7th and 8th Lok Sabha), had no women elected in the last two general elections.

Not just MPs, but the share of women candidates is low compared to men

The underrepresentation of women in the Parliament is not solely due to a lower number of women being elected, but also because there is a smaller number of women who choose to run for political office or get tickets to do so, during general elections. About 8,360 candidates contested in the 18th Lok Sabha elections at the national level, out of which women constitute less than 800 candidates. That is, women constituted only less than 10% of the candidates.

The 2024 Lok Sabha elections highlighted a concerning trend in women’s representation, with a decline in the number of women MPs despite the passage of the Women’s Representation Bill. While some states showed promising levels of female representation, others lagged. As we await the implementation of the women’s reservation legislation, proactive measures to promote gender parity in politics remain crucial for fostering a more inclusive and representative democracy.


About Author

A bachelor’s degree in mathematics and master’s in social science, she is driven by ardent desire to work with this unique combination to create her own path instead of following the herd. Having served a stint as the college union chairperson, she is a strategist who is also passionate about nature conservation, art and loves solving Sudoku.

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