Political empowerment is considered a must to bring about gender equality. But alysis of 2011 data furnished by the Census department and Election Commission show that political empowerment does not necessarily mean better development indicators for women. The alysis has revealed that states with poor development indicators for women, primarily characterised by adverse sex ratio and low female literacy, have higher representation of women in their legislative assemblies. The top six states with the highest percentage of women MLAs have been found to be Punjab, Harya, Bihar, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab, which are also states with the worst sex ratios. As for female literacy rate, only Harya and Punjab among these states is doing better than the tiol average of 64.4 per cent. Bihar in particular, has witnessed a surge in the number of women MLAs from 5.9 per cent in the 2000 elections to 14 per cent in 2010, which is the highest proportion of women representatives in any Indian state assembly. And despite all the snide talk of female MLAs being supposedly remote-controlled by male politicians in their families, the voters seem to be sufficiently impressed by their work, tending to re-elect them more!
Paradox of women MLAs