One of the earliest demands of Indian women’s organisations in the pre-Independence period was the right to be elected to legislative bodies. Yet, almost a century later, a vast gender gap persists in terms of women’s presence at all levels of governance. Why is it important to include women in political and policy decision-making bodies, beyond the issue of equality? Do women representatives necessarily represent women’s interests? Indeed, how do we define women’s interests and how can they be represented best? And how much presence makes for effective representation? This paper addresses these questions, both conceptually and based on empirical evidence.
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