Women continue to be underrepresented in local and national politics across the world. According to the Inter Parliamentary Union, women make up just 24% of legislators as of 2018. According to data from the Stockholm-based International Institute for Democratic and Electoral Assistance (IDEA), an increasing number of nations have implemented some form of affirmative action for women in public office.
With strong female political personalities in our country, women’s positions in Indian politics are getting stronger by the day. The Women’s Reservation Bill was proposed in both the upper and lower houses to enhance women’s representation in parliament, however despite its reintroduction, it is still waiting in the Lok Sabha.The Women’s Reservation Measure is a bill now pending in India’s Parliament that proposes amending the Indian Constitution to reserve 33 percent of seats in the lower house of parliament, the Lok Sabha, and all state legislative assemblies for women.
ORIGIN OF WOMEN’S RESERVATION BILL
The primary inspiration for this measure came from a constitutional amendment approved in 1993.
A random one-third of village council leaders, or Sarpanch, posts in the gramme panchayat shall be reserved for women, according to the constitutional amendment.
The Women’s Reservation Bill was introduced as part of a long-term strategy to expand the reservation to the Lok Sabha and state legislatures. Opponents of the measure saw it as giving Indian women preferential treatment.
IMPORTANT FACTS ABOUT THE BILL
- On September 12, 1996, the Women’s Reservation Bill was first submitted in the legislature. The United Front government of HD Deve Gowda introduced the bill in the Lok Sabha.
- The bill’s major goal is to give women 33 percent of the seats in the Lok Sabha and all state legislatures.
- Seats will be reserved on a rotating basis, according to the law. The seats would be decided by a lottery, with each seat reserved just once every three general elections.
- The bill was pushed through the Vajpayee government in the Lok Sabha, but it was not passed.
- In May 2008, the UPA-I administration, led by the Congress, reintroduced a measure to reserve seats for women in the Lok Sabha and legislative assemblies.
- The law was cleared by the Rajya Sabha on March 9, 2010, after it was reintroduced, but it was still waiting in the Lok Sabha.
- Along with the Samajwadi Party, Lalu Prasad’s RJD has been a strong opponent of the Women’s Reservation Bill (SP).
- In rallies and speeches, politicians like Chirag Paswan of the LJP and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnayak have pushed for the Women’s Reservation Bill.
CURRENT SCENARIO OF THE WOMEN’S RESERVATION BILL
The law is now pending in the Lok Sabha, which is the lower house of Parliament. The law will only be enacted if the current government, which has a majority in the Lok Sabha, fully supports it.
Though there has been no substantial progress in the passage of the Women’s Reservation Law in recent months, there is hope that the bill will be enacted in the Lok Sabha soon if the current administration makes efforts to improve it.