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Source: The post is based on the article “33% Fairer – Political returns on passing the women’s reservation bill look very good now. Don’t waste this chance” published in The Times of India on 18th September 2023.
Syllabus: GS 2 – Social Justice – Issues Related to Women
Relevance: About representation of women in the legislative bodies
News: The specific legislative agenda for the special Parliament session, which begins today, remains uncertain. However, one speculated item is a bill aiming to reserve one-third of Lok Sabha and state legislative assembly seats for women.
What are the reasons for the Parliament to consider a bill that allocate one-third of Lok Sabha and state legislative assembly seats for women?
The country and its women have made a lot of progress since the first attempt to pass such a law in 1996. The strong opposition that every government has faced in trying to pass this law has also died down.
Therefore, it is unlikely that there will be the same violent scenes of male MPs tearing up women’s reservation bills as seen in the past.
Further, the social and economic arguments for this reservation were strong even three decades ago. The main difference now is that there is more political support for it.
Even the current ruling party has pledged to pursue a constitutional amendment for this reservation in both its 2014 and 2019 manifestos.
What is the current status of women’s representation in legislative bodies in India?
There has been a shift in Indian politics regarding women’s reservation. This can be attributed to factors like the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, where women voted in higher numbers than men, a trend also observed in various assembly polls.
Women are now the focal point of numerous welfare programs, and their issues are receiving greater attention.
However, despite these changes, women’s representation in legislatures remains low, ranging from 0% to 14%.
What lies ahead?
The women’s reservation bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha in 2010, and that same year, the budget aimed for double-digit economic growth. However, double-digit growth has not been yet achieved.
Therefore, recognizing the connection between strong economic growth and women’s empowerment, policymakers should prioritize increasing women’s representation in legislatures.
A persistent discrimination against women imposes significant costs on India in both wealth and well-being.