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DISCUSS THE IMPORTANCE OF THE CONSTITUTION (108TH) AMENDMENT BILL TO RESERVE FOR WOMEN ONE-THIRD OF SEATS IN PARLIAMENT AND THE STATE LEGISLATURES AND WHY IS THERE OPPOSITION TO PASSING THIS BILL?
India ranks 132 on gender development index and 127 for gender equality index. These ranks doesn’t suit a nation whose constitution provides equality and liberty to all its citizens. Mere 12% representation of women in current parliament speaks for itself the current nature of empowerment of women in the country. The 108th Constitutional Amendment Bill for 33% reservation of seats to Women in Parliament and legislature has been pending for quite long time.
Reasons why bill is being opposed
- Patriarchal and male chauvinist mind-set with the political parties
- Demand for broader caste and social status based reservation.
- In a nation like ours where patriarchy is dominant, such reservation will only make dummy women legislators controlled by husband and family as it evident in panchayat elections.
- Moving away from true adult suffrage as a citizen will be forced to choose only from women candidates.
- Right to equality will not be adhered, as a male candidate cannot stand in election in a seat reserved for women.
- Solving problem through a quota system can fall out similarly as with the case of reservations for ST/SC/OBCs
Why is is required
- Until unless women are consulted in laws and have greater say in law making, they will continue to suffer.
- Women are more pragmatic and their voices in decision-making at the top level will rejuvenate the women self-respect.
- Currently, women are suffering from priming i.e. as we see less no. of women in politics, in parliament, or as ministers it asserts the psychological mind-set that women are not good enough to do that. It creates a vicious circle which is difficult to be broken, so reservation for women can provide necessary impetus.
- Scandinavian countries are prime examples where they reserved seats for women in company boards, it led a positive impact on their economy.
- Without empowering 50% of the country population, India cannot unleash its true potential.
- 73rd and 74th constitutional amendments unleashed women representation in PRI institutions, which led to better representation of women at state legislation.
Current parliament should think about this question more pragmatically and should reach a sustainable solution rather than just creating a necessary vice.