Such was the rallying cry on the 1st of December, 2015 that called for 50 percent reservation for women in Parliament as opposed to the earlier demanded 33 percent with frustration building regarding the delay in passing the Women’s Reservation bill. While the bill has been passed in the Rajya Sabha it remains shelved for the time being in the Lok Sabha.
The 1st of December thus saw women’s organisations such as JWP, AIDWA, NFIW, CSR, AIDMAM, Swastik Mahila Samiti, The Hunger Project, CBCI, VIVAT, WPC, Guild For Service, War Widows Association, OXFAM, Caritas, YWCA-D,YWCA-I, Jagori, ANHAD and AIWC coming together with political representatives from various political parties to demand 50 percent reservation for women in Parliament.
Dr. Ranjana Kumari, Director, CSR, spoke about this being a demand for women’s rights as being 50 percent of the entire population and no longer just a matter of reservation. Let there be SCs and STs and religious minorities but let 50 percent be women, she said. Ms. Sharmishtha Mukherjee, representing Congress stated that presently there were only 11 percent women in Parliament. Bringing in equal representation of men and women would provide balanced perspectives towards problem solving approaches and better functioning of Parliament overall. Examples of Kerala and Maharashtra were shared by AIDWA where women enjoy 50 percent reservation and are leading by example. Why not implement this at the national level?
The rally at Jantar Mantar saw a united coming together of women from different spheres, with different political views, differing socio-economic backgrounds and yet a common goal, that of passing the Women’s bill, no longer with just a token 33 percent reservation but seeking equal representation of both women and men.