Have you ever asked yourself what is actual women empowerment? Do women treat equally by society? The answer is a big NO. For an initial time, women are considered as ‘weaker sex’. Why do women all the time need to prove their abilities?
In all the sectors women face inequality for now let’s talk about political inequality. As far as female politicians are concerned we have had female President, Prime ministers, and Chief Ministers. However, this does not gave effecting changes in political inequality. It is disappointing that from a long history women’s reservation bill is waiting to get passed by Lok Sabha.
Article 14 of the Indian constitution ensures equality for all whether male-female, or rich-poor, everyone is equal before and has equal protection of the law. As far as political equality is concerned Our Preamble expressly ensures political justice.
Preamble itself gives us:- JUSTICE- Economic, Social, Political But the question is do we have political equality? No, we don’t have.
To understand why the women’s reservation bill is still not passed we need to see its history. The women’s reservation bill’s origins can be traced back to a 1993 constitutional amendment. According to the constitutional amendment, one-third of the village council leader, or Sarpanch, positions in the Gram Panchayat should be reserved for women. The Women’s Reservation Bill was introduced as part of a long-term strategy to expand the reservation to the Lok Sabha and state legislatures. In the ’90s this bill was introduced three times but lapsed each time.
WHAT CHANGES WOMEN RESERVATION BILL 2008 SEEKS?
- The women reservation bill (108th Constitutional bill 2008) looks for 33 percent seat reservation in the Lok Sabha and all state legislatures for women.
- Reserved seats in the state or union territory may be assigned to other districts through rotation.
- Seat reservations for women will be phased out 15 years following the passage of this Amendment Act
DO WE NEED THIS BILL? “YES”
As per Global Gender Gap Report 2021, India’s political empowerment index has plummeted by 13.5 percentage points, and the number of female ministers has fallen from 23.1 percent in 2019 to 9.1 percent in 2021.
Even the government’s Economic Surveys concede that women’s representation in the Lok Sabha and legislative assemblies is appallingly low.
However Women representatives from Panchayati Raj have worked admirably in the growth and overall well-being of society in villages,
many studies have shown that many of them would surely want to work on a bigger scale, but they face multiple problems in India’s political framework.
ISSUES AND ARGUMENTS OF THE BILL
- It has been contended that this would sustain women’s unequal standing because they would not be seen as competing on merit.
- It is also argued that this approach distracts from major challenges of electoral reform, such as political criminalization and intra-party democracy.
- It limits voters’ options to female candidates.
- The rotation of reserved constituencies in each election may limit an MP’s incentive to work for his area because he may not be able to run for re-election in that constituency.
- Alternative techniques, such as reservation in political parties and dual member constituencies, have been proposed by certain academics.
WHAT STEPS HAVE BEEN TAKEN SO FAR TO ENSURE EQUAL REPRESENTATION OF WOMEN IN INDIAN POLITICS?
In the year of 1992, two constitutional Amendments 73rd and 74th had taken place. With the 73rd and 74th amendments, Local self-governance had been developed in both rural and urban India. One-third of the total number of seats should be designated for women, as stated in Article 243D. Women should be allocated one-third of the seats reserved for SCs and STs.
Women should be represented in one-third of all chairperson positions at all levels. This is a crucial step toward grassroots women’s empowerment in India. The 73rd and 74th Amendment reservations are rotational in character, meaning that specific panchayats or municipalities should be reserved for women on a rotating basis.
But the question is are these steps useful in women’s representation in politics and in their empowerment? Many surveys and studies have shown positive outcomes.
WHAT CAN BE THE NEXT STEP
Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) have been instrumental in bringing women representatives to the grassroots. Many states have imposed election reservations for women candidates of 50%.
Fundamental party reforms will be an important and strategic complement to the Women’s Reservation Bill. Even if the measure is further delayed, it should not prevent political parties from modifying their internal structures to make it easier for women to enter politics.
- Those who oppose the bill should support it instead of endorsing reservation, political parties should use a bottom-up strategy to increase women’s representation in parliament by inducting more women into their parties.
- An expert committee should be formed to examine Bill’s benefits and drawbacks.
- If this bill becomes law, it should only be in effect for a limited time to address the urgent social constraints that Indian women face.
- Political parties must provide training and moral support to enable women to actively participate in government activities.
- The government must take proactive measures to eliminate society’s patriarchal worldview.
- Women politicians should be given security so that they do not become targets.
For a better future for the country, it is important to give equal status to women. In my perception, the bill should pass for the short term as a test, as it is itself stated in the bill that the term of the bill would for 15 years.
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