Why in News?
Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) leader K. Kavitha launched a hunger strike for the early passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill.
- The issue of reservation for women in politics can be traced back to the 1930s, even the Constituent Assembly rejected the debates on women’s reservation as unconstitutional.
- Later Committee of the Status of Women in India, 1971 commented on the decline of political representation of women.
- The National Perspective Plan for Women in 1988 recommended that reservations be provided to women from the local level to higher levels i.e, from panchayat to parliament.
- Later 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendment Act 1992 mandated the reservation of one- third seats at different levels
- Only around 14 per cent of the members of the Indian parliament are women, this proportion is lower than in neighbouring countries like- Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka etc.
About Women’s Reservation Bill-
- Bill proposes to reserve 33 per cent of the House of People and State Legislative Assemblies for women.
- Earlier it was introduced as the 81st Constitutional Amendment Bill 1996 but didn’t get passed due to the dissolution of Lok Sabha.
- Later in 1998 NDA government reintroduced the Bill but failed to pass it.
- In 2008 the UPA government, Bill was passed in Rajya Sabha but not in Lok sabha.
- It is affirmative action to better the condition of women because political parties are inherently patriarchal.
- Women are under-represented in the legislature so by providing reservation the proportion of women will increase.
- If there is a sufficient proportion of women parliamentarians then more such issues would have been discussed which are often ignored.
- Women’s participation in decision-making may decrease the percentage of crime against women, increase the participation of women in the workforce, increase the nutrition level etc
Arguments against the Bill-
- Some people think that women will not be competing on merit if there is a reservation, which could lower their status in society.
- Women’s interests can’t be isolated from other social, economic and political strata.
- Some think that the reservation of seats for women would restrict the choice of voters to women candidates.
- Some people argued that bringing women into politics could destroy the ideal family.