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Women candidates, women voters, and the gender politics of India’s 2019 parliamentary election

Spary, Carole



© 2020, © 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Gender quota campaigns to increase women’s parliamentary presence in India have been ongoing for more than twenty years. Meanwhile, each general election results in the slow growth of women MPs, partly due to political parties nominating few women. The 2019 election was no different in this respect –women still make up fewer than 15% of lower house MPs. Incidents of gendered violence against women candidates also contributed to a characterisation of 2019 as a ‘toxic’ election, and will likely further discourage women’s entry into politics. One positive development, however, was two regional parties’ implementation of voluntary party gender quotas in their parliamentary candidate nominations. This article focuses on women’s political participation as candidates and voters in the 2019 parliamentary election. Parties are scrutinised as key gatekeepers for women’s political recruitment. The article also discusses the new narrative of the growing power of women voters in India, exemplified by closing gender gaps in voter turnout, and representing another aspect of women’s political engagement, potentially influencing parties’ responsiveness to women voters. The article concludes by discussing the broader implications and significance of the 2019 election, areas for further research, and prospects for women’s participation and representation in the new parliament.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 29, 2020
Online Publication Date May 18, 2020
Publication Date May 18, 2020
Deposit Date Aug 3, 2020
Journal Contemporary South Asia
Print ISSN 0958-4935
Electronic ISSN 1469-364X
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 28
Issue 2
Pages 223-241
Keywords Women, election, India, parliament, candidate, gender, representation, equality, participation, voting
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