While women remain under-represented in elections, an interesting new dimension has emerged from the first analysis of 50 years of Assembly election data. India’s backward States systematically put up more female candidates than the developed southern States. Yet, female candidates in developed States are more likely to win.
Mudit Kapoor and Shamika Ravi, assistant professors at the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad, analysed candidates who contested elections in 16 large States between 1961 and 2012. They found that backward States like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh had twice the number of female candidates standing for election per constituency than in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. These trends remained consistent over the 50-year period.