Only one woman candidate for every 13 men
Women are headed for a steep climb up the political ladder in India if the number of female contestants in the first three phases of the general election is any indication.
For every woman candidate, there are 13 men in the fray in the first three phases covering 278 constituencies, according to figures available with the Election Commission.
Nominations for the last two stages are yet to open.
Gujarat may have been the pioneer in the country for the women's cooperative movement, but when it comes to women contesting elections, the state presents a bleak picture.
There are only 11 women candidates against 151 men in the fray for the 26 Lok Sabha seats from the state.
Gandhinagar, the Lok Sabha constituency of Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani, has as many as 13 candidates, all men.
For 32 of 80 Lok Sabha seats from Uttar Pradesh, 378 men are in the poll ring compared to just 14 women.
Rae Bareli, which Congress chief Sonia Gandhi is contesting, is the lone seat from the state to have two women candidates.
Of the total 279 candidates in the fray for the 42 Lok Sabha seats from Andhra Pradesh, only 21 are women. A maximum of three women candidates are in the fray in the Khammam Lok Sabha constituency along with six male contestants.
At least 25 constituencies in the state do not have a woman candidate.
In Maharashtra, which will witness a contest among 412 candidates for 48 Lok Sabha seats, only 29 belong to the fair sex. The absence of women candidates is felt in 27 constituencies.
Out of the 172 candidates trying their luck for the 28 Lok Sabha seats from Karnataka, only 10 are women. As many as 18 Lok Sabha constituencies do not have a woman candidate.
With 14 Lok Sabha seats, Jharkhand has 13 women candidates as against 182 men, while Chhattisgarh has 12 women candidates in the fray for 11 Lok Sabha seats. There are 102 men pitted against the 12 women.
Goa has two Lok Sabha seats, but only one woman candidate among the 16.
The situation is no different in Manipur, where a lone woman is in the fray. Manipur elects two members to the lower house of parliament.
In Bihar, a total of 329 candidates are in the race for 28 out of the 40 Lok Sabha seats that go to the polls in the first three phases. While the number of male contestants is 322, only seven women are in the fray.
Jammu and Kashmir has six Lok Sabha seats of which three are going to the polls in the first three phases. Only three of the 46 candidates in the fray are women. Jammu has a maximum of 27 candidates but there is only one female contestant.
The federally administered territories of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, with one Lok Sabha seat, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli, with one seat, have a woman contestant each.
Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tripura and the federally administered territory of Daman and Diu have no member of the fair sex in the fray.
The first three phases of the general election will be held April 20, 22 and 26 in 15 states and four federally administered territories.