The present paper is an attempt to analyse the nature and extent of political participation of women in Meghalaya in reference to 2003 and 2008 assembly elections. Meghalaya predominantly a tribal state in northeastern region is found to be the habitat of three main tribes like Khasis, Garos and Jaintias. Being a matrilineal society, a society where the women are highly respected, the right to inheritance of family property goes to daughters, children take the family name of mother as well as resident after marriage . Therefore, it prompts the researcher to investigate about the status of women in political fabric of the state. The researcher, while studying the nature and extent of political participation of women in electoral process, finds that, since the inception of the state the presence of women representatives in the state legislative assembly is very low. This is not consistent with the fact that the society is a matrilineal where women have greater role in the family structure and hence they should also have more involvement in the social and political processes. But the reality is that in all three tribes the women are denied entry into the traditional political institutions (Dorbar or village council), which appears to have its impact on their participation in modern political process. Perhaps, men-folk do not accept happily the political role of women and the latter have tacitly accepted their role to be confined to family matters. This is evident from the number of contestants and winners among women politicians. In a state where women voters outnumber their male counterparts, the number of women contestants is meagre. All political parties, though advocate eloquently about gender equality, are hesitant to concede good number of seats to women candidates. The scenario in the history of state’s Lok Sabha elections is still worse. It seems that political parties are insensitive to the issue of gender inequality.
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