In all the hullabaloo that followed the victory that the Bharatiya Janata Party enjoyed in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly Elections , one tiny detail regarding women empowerment emerged that only few caught on. A record 38 women MLAs will be in attendance at the Uttar Pradesh legislative Assembly
There were close 96 women candidates participating in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections 2017. BJP had fielded 43 women out of all the parties and of these, 32 won. While the other parties had two and one each winning if you were to count the BSP, Congress, Samajwadi Party and Apna Dal, taking the total to 38 MLAs.
This is certainly a victory to celebrate for women. Everywhere we go on and on about how women are not being given their due and how there are these glass ceilings they still have to break. Well, this UP historic as it has been for the BJP party has had the same impact for women in politics as well.
A report in a national newspaper highlights how according to records available with the Election Commission, in the first UP assembly election after Independence, held in 1952, 20 women were elected. The next round of celebrations came only in 1985, when 31 women were elected. These numbers have been fluctuating since Independence.
In 2007, however, the number fell to mere three women MLAs, but in 2012 a record 35 were elected. In 2017, this record number gives us hope that maybe this is a sign of things to come and that maybe the graph for woman kind will move upwards.
The victory of these women holds special significance since Uttar Pradesh is not known to be state where the female population is given respect. This is the land which has been touted as one of the worst states for women to be in. The women in these states are among those who are most likely to be aborted as children, have the lowest literacy rates, marry earliest, die most frequently while pregnant, bear the most children, have the most crimes committed against them and are least likely to be employed.
This is also the place where you have people dictating that women should not be working or seen with members of the opposite sex and that mobiles and clothes are some of the things that are poisoning a woman’s mind.
All this is set to change, hopefully. Though this is not a level playing field at least it as an advancement in having women express their opinions in the political decision making process