Women and Competency in Electoral Competitions in the Nepalese Elections after 1990
It is often argued that women candidates are less competent than their male counterparts and hence only few women candidates are listed in a party list for the electoral competitions (Paxton & Hughes, 2007, Philips, 1991; Tamale,1999). The reasons behind that are resource differentials between male and female. Male are more resourceful than female. The resource differentials can be level of education, income, and property ownership. Therefore, gender quotas are provided for women to encourage and ensure women’s equal participation in the politics – parliament, cabinet and political parties. The electoral statistics of Nepal – election result 1991, 1994, 1999 and a couple of Constituent Assembly (CA) Elections 2008 and 2013 suggest that despite resource differentials between men and women, women are equally competent as male candidates if they are given opportunities to be an election candidate during the election. The electoral results shows that it is not a gender that determines the chances of winning the election rather it is a political party that determines the chances of winning and losing the election. There is no or very less dependency of vote received on gender where as dependency of vote received on political party is quite high. Therefore, the research argues that there are however huge resource differentials between male and female candidates in Nepalese politics but party affiliation most often strongly determines the chances of election and hence there is no point to be fewer women in the party electoral list.
In the second level, the research tries to address the few women’s participation in the parliament. This is not a lack of potential women in the party rather it is a domination of male, male psychology and intention of the major political leaders who decides electoral candidates. In a couple of CA elections, despite the electoral laws that ensured at least 33 percent of women in the electoral list but parties hardly could ensure 12 percent of women in the list. The paper concludes that if the major political parties prepare more inclusive electoral list the chances of getting more seats is higher with higher voter’s turnout and thus more women in the parliament.
For the analysis, I have used the electoral dada of 3 consecutive legislative elections and a couple of CA elections of Nepal. I have made a complete data set in SPSS out of the election information provided in the Election Commission of Nepal, Kathmandu. The data has been coded and recoded for the analysis. To show the relationship between gender and vote received and political party and vote received I have done regression analysis.
Key Words: Election, Women, Politics, Political Party and Participation