Monday, March 29, 2010

Women`s Reservation Bill – Its not about Quantity but Quality

The nation was in a furor after some of the members of the Rajya Sabha behaved in such an unruly manner. The main reason being the Women’s reservation bill, many people see this bill as a way to bring substantial amount of women in politics which by current standards is less. But the major purpose of the bill is not just to bring women in politics but to empower them to improve the standards in society.

Many comparisons are being made with Pakistan where the percentage of women in Politics better than our country. This is a useless comparison since Pakistan is not as big as our country and their political and religious way of ruling does not allow empowering women. Then why there is a big opposition in the parliament where the Congress is completely determined to pass the bill along with BJP and the communist, while RJD and SP are opposing it, the reason they cite is that this bill would support the elitist category of women and they require a separate reservation within a reservation.

But neither did anyone think that the true purpose of the bill is not to increase the number of women in parliament but to improve the standard of living. Lots of women in India mainly in rural areas undergo lot of discrimination even before their birth due to female infanticide and after their birth by mal nutrition, education, child marriage, societal beliefs … etc. This is the problem that the government should be addressing. And it’s a myth that by increasing the representation of women would completely solve the problem. Remember the women who are going to represent are not angels from sky who with a magic wand would eradicate problems, instead they are very much similar to their male counterparts, in very simple words they are also politicians.

Just by putting women in the hot seat will it solve the problem? In that Case there should be no discrimination in TamilNadu where Jayalalitha ruled for two terms. And same should be the case in Uttar Pradesh with respect to Mayawathi. Having said that there are also some women who really handle the hot seat well, the Congress leader Sonia Gandhi is a great example, the way she conducted her coalition partners like the DMK, Trinamool and even the Left parties in her previous term is note worthy. There are also some more women in Parliament who are equally capable like Sushma Swaraj, Jayathi Natarajan, Vasundara Raje.

If women’s reservation can bring more these kind of women into mainstream politics and if our political conditions allow them work towards improving living standards of women, then this bill would be a great success. But the probability of such great things to happen in Indian politics is really less. When this bill was being passed in the parliament a news anchor in an English news channel was asking a Lady MP that currently the Sons and Son in laws of politicians are contesting elections and this bill would enable daughters and Daughter in laws of politicians to contest elections. The lady MP replied that it should happen and there is no wrong in it. That’s exactly what I’m saying too there is no wrong and there will be no difference if the daughters and daughter in laws do the same thing what their male counterparts would have done. It would be just a change of gender but no change in ideology and no change in improvement of women.

My final thoughts are just by sending more women in the parliament do not serve the purpose because besides their gender they have a common politician blood running through them which always does the same thing year after year. As a common man with due respect to women I would be expecting the day when this Women’s Reservation bill would be scrapped from the Parliament. Don’t consider this as a male chauvinism, when a reservation bill gets scrapped it means that the bill had fulfilled its purpose, the purpose of providing equality and improving the status of women. And that is the day when we would reap the benefits of this historic bill, if that day doesn’t come it simply means that government has just allowed some more women to come into the parliament. Until then lets hope that this bill would be new beginning that would help to empower women across the nation.


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