The winter session of the parliament is right here and women’s groups are gearing up again in hope that may be this time, Women’s Reservation Bill will be made into an Act.
Director of Centre for Social Research, Ranjana Kumari, along with a few others organised a solidarity march in Delhi on Wednesday (Dec 12) to focus on the same and to bring the issue back into conversation in parliament.
Talking to SheThePeople.TV about the bill, Kumari said, “A committee chaired by activists, including Gita Mukherjee and Promila Dandavate, drafted the Women’s Reservation Bill. The committee went around the country and took several opinions of people on it. But the demand for the bill started even before that and it was because of the pressure that the activists constituted the committee about 21 years back.”
Then in 2010, the Rajya Sabha passed the bill, but the Lok Sabha has not relented yet. “Before 2010, it was many times presented, torn and created scuffles in the parliament. This has been the most difficult piece of legislation to get adopted. And the parliament has always shelved the bill in the name of consensus,” said Kumari.
“Basically, it looks like 88% seats reservation is for men. So when the parliament passes 33% Women’s Reservation Bill, women will occupy 182 seats while currently, there are only 47 that have elected women. And this loss of power is what men are unable to grapple with. They fear whose seat will go? That’s why they all stand together in blocking the bill,” – Ranjana Kumari
“Basically, it looks like 88% seats reservation is for men. So when the parliament passes 33% Women’s Reservation Bill, women will occupy 182 seats while currently there are only 47 that have elected women. And this loss of power is what men are unable to grapple with. They fear whose seat will go? That’s why they all stand together in blocking the bill,” she added.
While the ruling party had the bill in their manifesto in 2014, three years have elapsed. But there has been no discussion on the bill in the parliament. Recently, Congress president Rahul Gandhi for the first time ever talked about implementing the bill.
Speaking about this, Kumari said, “As a Ccongress president, this is the first time that he has openly and clearly supported the bill. But when it came to giving ticket to women, even his party hasn’t given tickets to women in Gujarat and other states and same is the case with BJP.”
Kumari is fighting for the bill for decades now. She feels that unless the parliament passes the bill, women won’t reach a position of equality. “In no way, parties are equally going to give them ticket to contest. There has been no progress on the bill. From our side, the progress is that more women are voting, winning local body elections and participating in political party meetings. So women’s political consciousness has grown.”
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