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Indian MPs reminded of Women’s Reservation Bill

Jun 29, 2017

Delhi based nonprofit Centre for Social Research aims to reach out to Parliamentarians to gather support for the long pending Women’s Reservation Bill.

New Delhi: In order to gather support for the Women’s Reservation Bill (WRB), women’s organizations have started reaching out to MPs (Members of Parliament) in India. As a part of this initiative, Centre for Social Research (CSR), New Delhi, has started sending letters and a draft parliament question enclosed in a specially designed envelop to the parliamentarians regarding elected representatives’ commitment towards more women in governance in India.

“We are pinning our hopes on the present government as they had promised the passage for the Women’s Reservation Bill in their election manifesto, and today they have the required number of elected representatives to get the bill passed and change our political system for good. Our campaign is focused on mobilizing both men and women from Parliament to Panchayats. We will leave no stone unturned to make them realize the importance of this issue,” says Dr. Ranjana Kumari, Director, Centre for Social Research.

The draft consists of two questions, which are:

(a)  Given that most of the political parties represented in the 16th Lok Sabha have spoken in favor of the Women Reservation Bill (WRB) in their election manifestoes, why has the Bill not been tabled in 16th Lok Sabha for discussion and voting, even after completion of three years of the 16th Lok Sabha?

(b)  Considering that The Rajya Sabha passed the bill on 9 March 2010 and Union Cabinet cleared the Bill on February 25, 2010, in which session of parliament in the year 2017, will the said Bill be tabled in the 16th Lok Sabha for voting?

CSR is expecting that more and more MPs will raise the question in Parliament and finally the concerned authority will be liable to answer it. Ultimately, this will lead to tabling of WRB in Parliament for discussion and voting.

“We are very positive that the bill will be discussed and passed in the Monsoon Session of Parliament,” adds Dr. Kumari.

The Women’s Reservation Bill is important in the context of the global scenario with regards to women in politics. Studies show that India stands at pitiable 103rd place out of 140 countries in terms of women in Parliament and State Assemblies. The recently concluded UK elections have resulted in the maximum number of women in their Parliament ever. However, the patriarchal mindsets in the Indian politics fail to change despite our tall claims of being a progressive democracy.

“The National Alliance for WRB demands action for women’s political empowerment. According to the Alliance, women’s participation in politics is a human right and the cornerstone of women’s equal citizenship. It is also essential for achieving genuine and effective democratic governance.

The Women’s Reservation Bill was developed in order to facilitate women’s political participation by reserving 33 percent of all seats for women in the Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies. The Bill is vital for realising women’s rights under the Constitution of India and for addressing the widespread gender inequality throughout the country.

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