While Rwanda, a small East African nation, tops the list of nations across the world for having the maximum representation of women in Parliament, India ranks a poor 100th and falls below many conservative islamic countries.
Placed 100th in the order, India, which boasts of being the largest democracy in the world, has only 10.8 % representation of women in the Lok Sabha with 59 out of 545 members as women. In the Rajya Sabha, India has only nine % women with only 21 women out of a total of 233 members.
The Women's Reservation Bill is pending in Parliament for over a year and a half now. The Bill was first drafted in 1996.
The Rajya Sabha has already passed it on March 9, 2010, but the Lok Sabha is yet to take it up. The Bill envisages reservation of 33 % for women in Parliament.
As per the list of World and Regional Averages of Women in Parliament, available at the Regional Seminar on Asian Parliaments, India's ranking on this front falls even below its neighbours like Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh and troubled Iraq and Afghanistan.
While Nepal with 33.2 % women representation is ranked 17th in the list of World and regional averages of women in Parliament, strife-torn Afghanistan and Iraq are also ranked higher than India at 32nd and 38th rank, having 27.3 % and 25.5 % women representation in their lower houses.