Paving the Way: S Phangnon Konyak becomes First Woman Member of Rajya Sabha from Nagaland

By: WE Staff

S Phangnon Konyak, a politician from Nagaland created history last week as she became the first female member of the Rajya Sabha from her state to preside over as the Vice-chairperson. Earlier in the week S Phangnon had added another significant moment in history by becoming the first-ever female from Nagaland to be selected on the panel of Vice-Chairpersons. She is also the first woman from Nagaland to serve in the Rajya Sabha and also made up the list of second women from the state to be chosen for either the state assembly or the House of Parliament. She walked proudly on the path paved by Rano M. Shaiza who was the only woman Member of India's Lower House, Lok Sabha from the state of Nagaland.

In a bid to promote gender equity in the realm of politics, Rajya Sabha Chairman, Jagdeep Dhankhar last week nominated S Phangnon and three additional female members to the panel of Vice Chairpersons. For the first time, the Vice-Chairpersons' panel was made up of 50 per cent women. The other women included in the panel were ace sprinter P T Usha, Fauzia Khan who is a member of the Nationalist Congress Party, and Sulata Deo of the Biju Janata Dal. All of these three women are serving at the Parliament for the first time.

This move is significant since this is the first time in the Upper House's history that female members have had equal representation on the panel of vice chairpersons despite the Women's Reservation Bill being introduced in 1966 and is still pending. Four male members were present in the panel before the monsoon session.

S Phangnon Gratitude for Becoming a Member of the Rajya Sabha

Upon becoming the first female vice chairperson of the Rajya Sabha, S Phangnon expressed her excitement and gratitude by stating that she is extremely overwhelmed and feels privileged to preside over the Rajya Sabha. She stated that she is thankful for the decision and that it was a productive one with the House passing the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Fifth Amendment) Bill, 2022. Women are now treated with the respect and room they deserve in politics and also the positions of leadership they acquire. She also thanked the honorable Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, and Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar.

A Look at Early Life

A female Indian politician from Nagaland, S Phangnon Konyak was born in Mon Village on 5 February 1978. She did her schooling at Holy Cross Higher Secondary School in Dimapur and completed her master's degree in English Literature from Daulat Ram College. She had a keen interest in social organizations and student activism from her college days.

S Phangnon is the BJP Mahila Morcha's State President. She was elected as the first female MP from Nagaland to the Rajya Sabha on July 25, 2023, during the Monsoon Session.

S Phangnon is a member of the House Committee, Committee on Transport, Tourism, and Culture, Committee on Empowerment of Women, Governing Council of the North-Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences, Shillong and also the Consultative Committee for the Ministry of Development of the North Eastern Region.

Women’s Role in Rajya Sabha

As the nation rejoices in the significance of S Phangnon’s rise in the Rajya Sabha, it is also imperative to understand the role women have played in the upper house of the Parliament. In terms of women's representation, the Indian government has taken steps to promote gender equality in politics. The Rajya Sabha, like the Lok Sabha (the lower house), has seats reserved for Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST), as well as seats reserved for women.

Over the years, the representation of women in the Rajya Sabha has increased, but there is still room for improvement in achieving gender parity in Indian politics. Political parties and civil society continue to advocate for greater women's participation in the legislative process and governance.

Why is it important to have more Women in Politics?

Having more women in politics is an important factor in the upliftment of society and the advancement of the nation. Women make up half of the global population, and their perspectives, experiences, and concerns are unique.  They are often underrepresented in the political world and their issues may not gain relevant attention. It is important to increase the participation of women in politics to ensure better representation and diversity in decision-making processes.

This makes S Phangnon’s new achievement at the Rajya Sabha even more significant as it paves the way for other women leaders from underrepresented or minority communities and states to own their voices.

More power to such trailblazing women!