Women’s Right to Vote in India
Nov 26, 1949

Number of female heads of state to date: 2

Women’s Suffrage in India

Since the very first Indian general election held in 1951–52, universal suffrage for all adult citizens aged 21 or older was established under Article 326 of the Constitution of India. The minimum voting age was reduced to 18 years by the 61st Amendment, effective 28 March 1989.

Constitution of India

The Constitution of India came into force on January 26th, 1950.

India, also known as Bharat, is a Union of States. It is a Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic with a parliamentary system of government. The Republic is governed in terms of the Constitution of India which was adopted by the Constituent Assembly on 26th November, 1949 and came into force on 26th January, 1950. The Constitution provides for a Parliamentary form of government which is federal in structure with certain unitary features. The constitutional head of the Executive of the Union is the President. As per Article 79 of the Constitution of India, the council of the Parliament of the Union consists of the President and two Houses known as the Council of States (Rajya Sabha) and the House of the People (Lok Sabha). Article 74(1) of the Constitution provides that there shall be a Council of Ministers with the Prime Minister as its head to aid and advise the President, who shall exercise his/her functions in accordance to the advice. The real executive power is thus vested in the Council of Ministers with the Prime Minister as its head.

When Madras’ women won the vote

Way back in 1921, Madras was the first legislature in British India to pass the women’s suffrage resolution by a considerable majority
As the vociferous battle for women’s freedom and equality rages on in the country, it would not be an exaggeration to say that the journey, in many ways, began in Madras.
Way back in 1921, Madras was the first legislature in British India to pass the women’s suffrage resolution by a considerable majority.
This meant that for the first time, women were recognised as ‘people’ by the State, thereby given the right to vote on the same condition as men.

Women’s Indian Association

On 8 May 1917 in Adyār, Madras, a multiethnic group of women established the Women’s Indian Association (WIA), India’s first major feminist organization, which remains in operation today.

WIA Centenary

Women’s Indian Association had its Centenary at Adyar on 3rd March 2017.
Thanks to Dr Annie Besant, one of the Founders of the WIA, this celebration took place in Adyar.
The high level Guests were Hon’ble President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee, and Hon’ble Governor of Maharasthra and Tamil Nadu, Shri Ch Vidyasagar Rao.


It’s all for women, by women

by Saraswathy Srinivasan
Women’s Indian Association at Greenways Road, RA Puram, the more than a century-old organisation that is a pioneer in the field of women development, implements welfare programmes for women and children, especially those from the weaker sections.

Votes for Women in India: the early female MPs and their lobbying for Indian suffrage

by Sumita Mukherjee
The 1918 Representation of the People Act, which enfranchised some British women over 30, had a broader impact beyond the British Isles. In commemorating the centenary of this Act, it will be important to acknowledge some of the broader geographical legacies of this suffrage victory.

Many British suffragettes and suffragists had, for example, invoked India during their campaigns and turned their attention more directly towards India after 1918. Until India gained independence from Britain in 1947, matters of the Indian women’s franchise were decided in the House of Commons. There were two significant Acts of Parliament on this issue in 1919 and 1935.

Women in India are voting today, thanks to a Jewish MP’s initiative 100 years ago

by Gopalkrishna Gandhi
Today, women voting and contesting elections in India are taken for granted. One must not forget the contribution made by a very young, radical and little-remembered Edwin Samuel Montagu.

By not seeing marital rape as a crime, Supreme Court is doing a disservice to Indian women

Aug 10, 2017
After attempts to dilute the impact of the domestic violence act, comes the odious observation from the apex court.

Facts and figures

Leadership and political participation – [UN Women]
Women in Parliaments: World Classification – [IPU]