New Delhi, March 21: There has been a steady rise in the number of women entering the Lok Sabha, figures compiled by the Election Commission show.
According to the Commission, the outgoing 15th Lok Sabha (2009-14) had the highest number of women – 59 or nearly 11 percent of the 545-member house.
A total of 556 women contested the Lok Sabha polls in 2009.
The 14th Lok Sabha (2004-09) had 45 women members, while the 13th Lok Sabha (1999-2004) had 49.
The lowest number of women elected to the Lok Sabha was in 1977 when only 19 made it to the Lower House. This was just 3.50 percent of the total Lok Sabha seats (544 at that time).
There was no other occasion when women did not even reach the 20-seat mark.
“Women’s participation in the elections has been much lower as compared to men. Untill the ninth general election (1989), women’s participation was 30 times lesser then men, though from the 10th (1991), onwards the participation improved,” an Election Commission official said.
As far as women contestants is concerned, the highest number of women aspirants, 599, were in fray in 1996 (11th general elections), followed by 556 women candidates in 2009 and 355 in 2004.
The figure was 198 for the 7th Lok Sabha (1980-84) when the women contestants crossed the 100 mark for the first time.