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Keywords:

  • gender;
  • representation;
  • narrative analysis;
  • Indian parliament

Based on extensive interviews with Indian women Members of Parliament, this article suggests that analysing subject narratives is an important method to understand the various routes taken by these women into parliamentary politics. This article pieces together life stories of Indian women MPs to reveal the complex layers of negotiations that women make to be successful. In making such an analysis, the article focuses on four avenues of access – family networks, social and political movements, the party system and the struggle over quotas for women. The article concludes that through narrative analysis we can understand better the importance of different strategies of political access in specific and embedded political, social and economic contexts and develop methodological insights into the broader issues of gendered access to politics.