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An Appeal To Dr. Manmohan Singh: Pass The Women”s Reservation Bill In The Lok Sabha

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By Ishita Aggarwal:

The 15th of August in 1947 unraveled for us the flag of national pride. This enrapturing moment was made true due to a plethora of telescopic, dauntless and fiery souls. These leaders led us to the point which the nation viewed as the peak of ambition. It was an achievement so high that no one ever imagined any ideal beyond that of national independence.

Women's reservation bill

On the eve of the 65th Indian Independence in 2012, President Pranab Mukherjee stated to the nation that “visions cannot be an open ended vista”. He said that “freedom must mean both bread and dreams…propelled by freedom of faith, gender equality and economic justice for all”.

Mahatma Gandhi had paved an entry to the Indian National Congress for the women of his country. The once male-dominated sphere suddenly became abuzz with female leadership. From political meetings to bearing the brunt of the lathis, women participated and braved them all. 67 years on, the Indian National Congress is still led by a woman but it has failed to mobilize opportunities for the common women of this country. India, today, stands ashamed at a mere 10.9% representation of women in the Indian Parliament.

Sarojini Naidu, a fighter and crusader, stood fiercely on the side of feminism and equality. She battled a strong patriarchal system to make voting rights for women a reality. Today, as half of the nation’s citizens lay their gratitude for ensuring their rights to political participation, they continue to struggle to go beyond voting representatives who are mostly men.

Enhancing women’s political leadership is essential to building a strong democracy and global presence for India in the 21st century. Furthermore, the Constitution of India, via Articles 325 and 326, guarantees political equality to all men and women. Unfortunately, women are not benefiting from this right and their voice is excluded from higher levels of Indian politics.

While reservation policies at the Panchayat level have facilitated women’s greater engagement in the lower level political process, no such reservation exists at the state and national levels. Without this provision, women’s engagement in state and national politics remains extremely limited. Currently, women’s representation is just over 10% in the Indian Parliament and 7% in the state assemblies.

With so few women in governance at this level, the environment in these institutions is unsupportive of women’s growth and engagement and serves to perpetuate their exclusion from the higher levels of political process. Furthermore, women often lack the support networks, mentoring, and skills that help them navigate the political environment and better serve their constituencies.

With so many factors contributing to the malady of the political system of an “independent” country, it is time we once again decry the situation and call upon a new system to ensure equal and honest inclusion of women in the politics of the country.

Since the 9th of March 2010, three years have lapsed without any genuine effort to pass the Women’s Reservation Bill by the Lok Sabha. Sexist mentalities continue to pervade the leaders of our times who are making it impossible for women to explore their potential, by enforcing a non-inclusive political sphere.

On behalf of half the population of this country and many more, (I appreciate and applaud the efforts of many men who are with us in this struggle) I wish to assert to the leaders of India to view the inclusion of women as an equal part of the political process as an unquestionable right. The passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill to ensure 33 per cent reservation to women should not just be a reality, it should be our right!

Amongst other initiatives, there is an online Petition which has been started to lobby for the Women’s Reservation Bill. Please sign and support the cause, if you feel equally for equality!

You must be to comment.
  1. K.B.Srivastava

    I had twitted on 10th Jan.,2013 that “I request govt. to reserve 50% posts for ladies in legislature, judiciary & bureaucracy to provide them equal opportunities in India “and I have written many letters since then and Prime Minister”s office has written me that my letters are being reviewed, but there is no response so far. Now I think that ladies should persue this matter with Smt. Sonia Gandhi themselves.

    1. Raj

      Did you also ask them to reserve 50% in Army, Air Force, BSF , CRPF , Police, Fire Dept. and also those high-risk jobs where the benefits to the society are for everybody but the casualties are mostly male?

  2. Raj

    I have serious issues with where this article is going. Why does it conflate equal opportunities implies equal outcomes? And what’s this about 33% reservation for women being a right? Really? What kind of entitlement mentality is this? Should everything be made a right?
    Has the author considered the state of other developed countries where in many cases the number of female voters outnumbers male voters, yet the Has the author considered that many women may not be interested in positions of power and authority since it confers them little benefit when it comes to looking for a mate, whereas having power and status is an extremely attractive attribute for a male looking for a mate?
    I am completely opposed to such social engineering efforts by the Govt. I believe the Govt. should neither enforce reservation nor enforce any handicaps against any individual.

  3. Shanthi Cheriyan

    Though I am all for women’s rights I do not agree with the idea of a reservation bill for women. How is it equality if we need a reservation to include women in parliament? Women are not an oppressed class to have a certain percentage reserved for them in order to address their issues. Moreover in a democratic nation the right to become representatives in Parliament should not be gender specific. It will take away the right of many men from contesting in elections just because they are men. That is not equality.

  4. Abhishresth Goswami

    annie beasent was the president of the indian national congress even before mahatma gandhi became a member of the indian national congress!! n how does reservation is a means to equality?

  5. Aditi Thakker

    If this bill is passed, it is going to be just as devastating as the OBS/SC/ST etc 50% reservations that already exist. After 66 years can we say that all casts in India are equal? No. Gender over capability just does not work. Just because you’re a woman, doesn’t mean you deserve any reservation in the functioning of a country. You want to join politics, there is no need for reservation, the way is quite clear. Also when you say 33% reservation, when women are abut 48% of the population, you’re already giving in to the fact that women are inferior and willing to settle for whatever they get.

  6. K.B.SrivastaVA

    In my letter to the Prime Minister I have written that 50%posts for ladies should be reserved in legislature, judiciary and bureaucracy. I had not mentioned for reservation in defence, but I had mentioned that “If number of judges and its staff and female constables are increased as per norms of America (21 times), problem of pending court cases,unemployment and female security will be solved.” I had also twitted on19th Jan;,2013 that “If number of female police personnel, judges and its staff are increased, problem of female security, pending cases and unemployment will be solved.” There is female army in Israel also and they are doing their best. If Indian ladies like to be appointed in defence, I think they can do their best like Jhansi Ki Rani.

  7. Parul Sriwastava

    There is no reservation foe women in any country in the world. If it is introduced in india, then we ll be the first nation to shout from the rooftops, that yes we have relegated women to second class citizen in our society. It will bring the so-called evils for which menfolk are known through the backdoor.

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