Women in Politics: Dalit And Adivasi women Representation in 18th loksabha

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The 2024 Lok Sabha elections have been a genesis for Dalit women’s representation, with notable politicians such as Sanjana Jatav and Shambhavi Choudhary achieving victory in their respective constituencies.

Story: Avani Kulshreshtha 

Edit: Nitya Kaimal

The percentage of women MPs has decreased significantly since the last Lok Sabha elections. Of the existing female MPs, only seventeen women belong to the SC/ST communities. This shift underscores the growing expectation from women leaders to address the unique challenges faced by women across the country.
According to the Election Commission data, the voter turnout of women was the lowest in the last three terms, and this places a heavy burden on women representatives as they will have a larger section of people to represent. This places on them two major responsibilities – to encourage higher voter turnout among women and to effectively advocate for their rights and needs in the Lok Sabha.

Also read: Did a Constitutional Conscience Drive Much of the Dalit and OBC Vote?

One of the most prominent Dalit women MPs is the 26-year-old Sanjana Jatav of the Congress party. She is among the youngest members of the Lok Sabha. Jatav’s victory in Rajasthan’s Bharatpur, where she defeated BJP candidate Ramswaroop Koli by over 51,000 votes, is a testament to her appeal and the electorate’s desire for change, letting go of years’ worth of prejudice against the Dalit community. A law graduate from Maharaja Surajmal Brij University, Jatav attributes her win to the electorate’s exasperation with religion-related violence.
Jatav has constantly and openly talked about the challenges women face within party politics, emphasising that even though women do the same work as men which includes organising rallies, mobilising communities, and providing logistical support, they are rarely acknowledged or given the credit they rightfully deserve.

Her rise to political prominence is particularly inspiring compared to the general condition of Dalit women in Rajasthan. The state has reported various cases of extreme caste-based discrimination against the Dalits. Many are employed as domestic workers, often underpaid and subjected to ill-treatment. Poverty, ill health, and malnutrition disproportionately affect Dalit women, making them some of the most vulnerable members of society. Additionally, they are frequent targets of physical and sexual violence by dominant castes, which further exacerbates their plight. Getting through all these challenges, Jatav has overcome systematic barriers and has fought for a platform where she has the power to enact change and help uplift other Dalit women.

Also read: Dalit woman from Rajasthan’s Bharatpur set to be one of the youngest MPs in Lok Sabha.

The 2024 Lok Sabha includes other remarkable women MPs like Gumma Thanuja Rani, Shambhavi Choudhary, Selja Kumari, and more. Each of these women brings unique perspectives and strengths to the parliament. Shambhavi Choudhary, for instance, at the age of 26, took her oath without reading from a script, symbolizing a bold and independent approach to her role as an MP.

Therefore, the rise of Dalit women to positions of power is a step towards ensuring inclusivity, representation and empowerment of all communities. Their presence in the parliament not only amplifies the voices of Dalit women but also sets a precedent for future generations. Their journey is a testament to the enduring spirit of resilience and the quest for justice and equality in Indian society.

*दलित टाइम्स उन करोड़ो लोगो की आवाज़ है जिन्हें हाशिए पर रखा गया है। *

महिला, दलित और आदिवासियों के मुद्दों पर केंद्रित पत्रकारिता करने और मुख्यधारा की मीडिया में इनका प्रतिनिधित्व करने के लिए हमें आर्थिक सहयोग करें।


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