This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Youth Ki Awaaz. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Women’s Reservation Bill: Required or Not?

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

Gitanjali Maria:

“If… [They] think that the women would vote independent… then they are mistaken… If I asked Rabri Devi to vote a certain way, do you think she would do otherwise?” – This was the comment Lalu Prasad Yadav, RJD president, gave to the media persons when asked about his stand on the women’s reservation bill. Even though we usually ignore Lalu Prasad’s comments as in jest, this one does have some truth in it.

In a country where majority of the women, especially in rural areas are illiterate and suppressed, servility to their lords and husbands is the central rule of their lives. Remaining devoted and obedient to their man, whatever the case might be, is something that is infused in them since the time they are little girls. At a period like this when men still hold the reins of politics, whether reserving 33% of seats in the legislature for women at one go is feasible or not should be given a second thought.

If we look at the statistics, there are 543 seats in the parliament, 122 are reserved for the scheduled castes and tribes. With 33% now going exclusively for women the number of seats open for ‘open’ male candidates is just a meager 282. In such a situation it is more or less predictable that the women candidates fielded by the political parties as just going to be puppets of the male leaders. To add to it all, the bill forbids a woman from contesting consecutively from the same constituency successively. This too clearly points out the flaw that the law doesn’t allow the women to continue any good work they might have started during their tenure but would like them to hop around the country trying their hands at various locations and making a mess out of it all.

The women leaders who participated in our freedom struggle were not mere shadows of their husbands or fathers but were by themselves strong and dedicated leaders. Rani Lakshmibhai, Sarojini Naidu, Annie Besant, Indira Gandhi and others proved their mettle in their respective battlefields and came out champions. They came out of their four walls on their own and built a new world and carved a niche for themselves. They didn’t find the need for any special seats to be reserved for them nor did they need any red carpet invitation to shoulder the responsibility of fighting for their nation.

Even today there are ambitious, strong willed women who come out on their own will and excel in many fields including engineering, health care, administration and defence services. More than reserving seats for them what they need is incentive, security and an assurance of fair and just treatment in offices and elsewhere. A woman willingly works doubly hard and with triple sincerity to prove herself but still often finds herself neglected for promotions and meted out a step motherly treatment when compared to her male counterparts. There are many cases of harassment in work places and sexual assault and rape, some of which are reported and countless others that go unnoticed. This mental and physical torture of always being considered second is what the modern progressive woman would want abolished because she knows that she is as good as any man or even better and wouldn’t need anyone’s recommendations. After all ‘She’ contains a ‘he’ in herself.

The women’s reservation bill passed in the Rajya Sabha a day after the International Women’s Day has its own merits too. The bill, first raised nearly 14 years ago, has seen a lot of obstacles before it could finally see the light of the day. It has given hope to all those women who wanted to actively be a part of Indian politics but couldn’t because of the male dominion.

But let us hope that merit remains the criteria for selection of candidates, women or men, and that the women’s reservation bill doesn’t become like the caste reservation bill, that the majority, especially the youth look upon as something that hampers the chances of meritorious students in competitive exams and other openings.

With the passing of the women’s reservation bill, let us be proud that the hand that rocks the cradle and moulds the future generations will now play a part in the nation building process too.

The writer is a correspondent of Youth Ki Awaaz.

You must be to comment.
  1. Mohnish Bagree


    Kudos to your feel of being one of those who, according to me are equally or even better that most of us, Males. It’s such a disappointment that people like Lalu Yadav who ‘dare’ to run this nation while calling his wife and indirectly the complete gender his puppets.
    Indian culture was born as woman oriented society and there are many examples from past which shows who women proved their metal to men numerous times: Razia Sultana was the only woman monarch to have ever ruled Delhi. The Gond queen Durgavati ruled for fifteen years, before she lost her life in a battle with Mughal emperor Akbar’s general Asaf Khan in 1564.
    If then, why can’t now? Only thing required is to change our mentality towards this gender. Start treating women as not women, instead as individuals. They are not competitors but co-workers dreaming and working to bring India more success.

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

Similar Posts

By Debarati Sen

By The Bleed Eco Project

By Youth Action Hub- India (Delhi)

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below