In a city where politicians are earnestly vying for women’s votes who account for 46 per cent of Mumbai’s population, female participation in electoral politics remains abysmally low.
Of the total 334 candidates who will be fighting in the 36 Assembly seats of Mumbai, only 31 candidates are women, or just 9.3 per cent. Only 21 of the 36 Mumbai constituencies have a woman candidate.
Both the BJP and the Congress have fielded only three candidates. The BJP, which is contesting on 17 seats, has renominated three of its sitting women MLAs with Manisha Chaudhary contesting from Dahisar, Bharti Lavekar from Versova and Vidya Thakur from Goregaon.
The Congress, which is fighting on 29 seats, has fielded only three women candidates. It has fielded sitting MLA Varsha Gaikwad from Dharavi, Manisha Suryawanshi from Ghatkopar East and Dr Ajanta Yadav from Kandivali East.
The Shiv Sena, which is contesting on 19 seats, has given ticket to only one woman candidate nominating Yamini Jadhav. The NCP, which is contesting on six seats, has given nomination to Vidya Chavan from Dindoshi. There are 11 independent women candidates in the fray.
The highest number of women candidates in a single constituency is in Dharavi, where three of the 11 candidates are women. They are Varsha Gaikwad of Congress, Anita Gautam of Bahujan Samaj Party and Babita Shinde, an independent.
The share of women elected representatives is low in Mumbai. The number was high in the 80s when the socialist movement was at its peak. In 1985 the city had six women MLAs.
The number has been on a decline since with Mumbai not electing a single woman MLA in 1990. The sweep of the BJP in the 2014 elections, however, saw the number of women legislators from Mumbai rise with four being elected.