In Mizoram, women voters outnumber men, but female candidates are still struggling to make mark

Of the 209 candidates in the fray for the Mizoram Vidhan Sabha elections, only 15 are women, according to officials from the state election department. While that's more than doubled from 2013, when only six women candidates ran for office—unfortunately none were successful—the number of women competing for seats amounts to merely seven percent of the total candidates.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Even as women voters outnumber the men among the voting population in Mizoram—of the 768,181 voters, there are 393,685 women and 374,496 men—women candidates are still fighting an uphill battle for respect and to be taken seriously, both by the public and the major political parties.

According to a report in Moneycontrolin 2017, Vanlalawmpuii Chawngthu became only the second woman to be inducted into the Mizoram Council of Ministers, that too after a gap of nearly 30 years. Lalhlimpuii Hmar, the first woman to shatter that particular glass ceiling in Mizoram, did so in 1987. Chawngthu herself is no stranger to politics, being the daughter of senior Congress leader and former minister C Chawngkunga, who is now the general secretary of the Mizoram Pradesh Congress Committee. Which shows how little representation ordinary women have in the corridors of power, despite them exceeding men both academically and in entrepreneurship, according to the report.

Indeed, Chawngthu is the only woman among the 40 legislators taking critical decisions on the future of Mizoram, according to a report in Hindustan Times. And this situation isn't likely to change anytime soon: Chawngthu is the only woman to which the ruling Congress gave an election ticket, while the Mizo National Front (MNF)—a regional party set for a showdown the Congress—has not offered a single woman candidate a ticket. Meanwhile, the Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM), the new kid on the block, has given tickets to two women and the BJP, which is hoping to make major inroads, has fielded six women candidates, according to the report.

However, Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla said things in the 'patriarchal Mizo society' are gradually changing. He told ET Magazine. “There was a time when Mizo women were mainly confined to household work. Now, they are employed everywhere. Every political party has a frontal organisation for women.” However, not all share Thanhawla's enthusiasm. His rival and former chief minister Zoramthanga said the MNF would only field a woman if she is "strong enough to win", according to the report.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Nov 26, 2018 18:43:33 IST

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