Guess who’s more educated and likely to win polls?June 7th, 2009 - 9:38 am ICT by IANS
New Delhi, June 7 (IANS) A higher percentage of India’s women MPs are postgraduates compared to their male counterparts and has greater chances of winning elections, suggests a new study.
As many as 32 percent of the 59 women MPs in the 15th Lok Sabha hold postgraduate and doctoral degrees as against 30 percent of male members in the lower house, it says.
The study by PRS Legislative Research, a non-profit organisation dedicated to parliamentary research, also says 10 percent of the women contestants in the April-May general elections won while the figure for men was only six percent.
The findings come at a time when Sharad Yadav, president of the Janata Dal-United, has bitterly opposed the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government’s plans for 33 percent reservation for women in parliament.
The 15th Lok Sabha has the highest ever number of women members.
Until now, women MPs had never crossed nine percent of the total strength of the 545-member house, but now the figure is 11 percent - the highest in the history of Indian parliament.
The figure for the Rajya Sabha at the moment is 10 percent and seven percent in state assemblies.
There are more heartwarming statistics. As many as 29 percent of women MPs are less than 40 years of age, a huge jump compared to the previous Lok Sabha when the figure was 17 percent. The average age of all 59 MPs is 47, which too is lower than that of men, 54 years.
No woman is above 70 in the Lok Sabha while over seven percent of male MPs are septuagenarians.
In all, 556 women had contested the 2009 general elections. While the Congress topped the list of victorious women MPs, at 23, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came in second with 13.
However, it was the West Bengal-based Trinamool Congress of Mamata Banerjee that fielded the highest percentage of women candidates - more than 20 percent - and 17 percent of them turned out to be winners.
Among the states with more than 20 seats in the Lok Sabha, Madhya Pradesh topped the list with 21 percent women MPs followed by West Bengal at 17 percent and Uttar Pradesh at 15 percent.
The PRS research said the percentage of women representatives in the age group of 40 to 60 has gone down. Now less than 57 percent of women fall in this category as compared to over 73 percent in 2004. But this time, women over 60 make up 13.8 percent, while it was a mere 9.8 percent in the 14th Lok Sabha.
In the previous Lok Sabha elections, there were 355 women candidates and 45 of them won, while in 1999 there were 49 victors from among 284 contestants.
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