The battle to get a reservation in the parliament has been for over twenty years now. The Women’s Reservation Bill was first introduced in the Parliament in 1996 and has not been passed by any government successfully till now. The only progress is that it seeks 33% reservation of all seats in governing bodies at the Center, State, and Local level.
The grueling fact that we live in a society where almost all our decisions are governed by the males and not having an equal say in the parliament just narrows the possibility of empowering women and breaking the glass ceiling. The fact that most political positions are held by men in the parliament and this superiority is what makes the bill pass becomes so difficult and tardy. When the question of women handling superior positions in the parliament is mocked by male political leaders by making remarks that they are deemed unfit or their leadership pattern is not the way the parliament can work, how will the status quo change? To all those who are critical of the bill with the argument that the bill will perpetuate gender inequality and not solve it. Here is what you need to know: in a country where most household women are not even allowed to take domestic decisions on their own, would the people allow women to take national decisions for them? How is the condition going to change when women are sidelined only for the reason that they are women?
Centre for Social Research has gone above and beyond to achieve gender equality and also believes that if women don’t have an equal say in the parliament, they will never be able to realize their full potential. Therefore, CSR did an event in the Ambience mall, Gurgaon that demanded support for equal representation of women, which was supported by various Ngo’s and citizens. CSR aims to further push this petition of equal representation in the parliament.
The Women’s Reservation Bill is an extremely important piece of legislation that has the capacity to change the structure of Indian politics. It is essential that the bill doesn’t get lost in the transition between the two houses, or women in India will never be able to realize the dream of true gender equality.