33 percent reservation for enhancing women participation in Indian politics

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A woman’s place is in the house. The House of the People. Our Lok Sabha! Sign my petition so that our Government makes the Women’s Reservation Bill a reality in 2020.

After working for more than 30 years in diverse social settings I realized without women's participation we can't resolve conflict, we can't stop wars and more than that there won't be diverse and peaceful inclusive sustainable democracy at work. For this purpose, we need at least 33 percent reservation for women in state legislatures and parliament. These famous words by Lenin Raghuvanshi, an award-winning, internationally renowned human rights activist resonate with me to my very core.

I have always been the outspoken daughter of my family. From my childhood, I have always spoken out for my rights and those of my sisters, every time I’ve witnessed any kind of injustice being committed by the powerful against the relatively powerless. But it was not without a backlash. They say, we women hold up half the sky. Then don’t our opinions count? Shouldn’t our voices be heard?

Be it in my mohalla or in our very own Parliament, women’s voices need to be encouraged. It is high time our Lok Sabha passes the Women’s Reservation Bill, which has been stalled for nearly 24 years. That much televised instance of a male MP tearing the Bill to shreds is etched in my memory.

A girl who was born in 1996 can actually contest a seat for Parliament next year when she turns 25 as per our laws.

There are many across party lines who have opposed the Bill. They believe a woman candidate’s chances of winning are bleak. To quote Mr Raghuvanshi, they think she will be unable to dedicate as much time compared to her male counterparts because of her domestic duties at home.

I’ve seen women candidates work harder than their male counterparts in her constituency. The male candidates do not enter people’s houses, however, a women candidate not only addresses rallies outside, but also meets the womenfolk of the house while canvassing for votes.

For a country in which a record number of women turned up to vote in the 2019 elections and be a part of the political process, the statistics are disappointing, regarding the participation of women in politics. In the current 17th Lok Sabha, only 78 MPs are women, that is 14.58 percent. The number needs to double. Half of the country’s population is still on the fringes politically.  Whereas maximum 11 women MPs were elected from Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, there is no representation of women from the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Manipur, Mizoram and Sikkim.[Source: News18]

How will having 156 women MPs matter? There is a correlation between gender parity in politics and development. There is strong evidence to indicate that where women are involved, there is better development. National policies become more inclusive and gender sensitive. The United Nations Women, in its website cites research which has revealed that women-led panchayats had 62 per cent higher drinking water projects than in those led by men. The website also states that a causal relationship was observed in the number of women representatives in local bodies in Norway and better child welfare. (Source: DailyO)

Sign my petition demanding that MPs from all political parties vote for the Women Reservation Bill, which will grant 33% reservation of seats for Women in the Lok Sabha and in all state legislation. 

As the BJP has a majority in the Lok Sabha, where the Bill is pending, I am sure it can make this Law a reality for us with full force.

I believe that when Parliament leads the way, the effect of creating a space for women’s voices will trickle down to every mohalla in this country.

Sign and share this petition widely so that every Indian supports this cause.

(My petition is based on recommendations derived from research on the topic of increasing women participation in Indian politics by Dublin City University  Global India Marie Sklodowska-Curie European Training Network global fellow Ms. Proma Ray Chaudhary and the suggestions by the speakers at the one-day discussion organised by the Peoples’ Vigilance Committee on Human Rights in Varanasi.

 

#womenparticipation #towardsequality #WomenInPolitics



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