Equal representation of women in the management committee of housing societies

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While we all remain busy in our day to day lives, there is a lot that goes on behind the closed gates of these mid-segment gated communities. These gated communities are nothing but a mirror image of the country as a whole. If we wish to see a large scale change, what better place to start than the place where you live – your gated community.

The management committee of housing societies is a representative of all residents and is endowed with powers to take decisions on behalf of residents with the agreement of all owners. These decisions are related to the maintenance of common areas, upkeeping quality of living, introducing new ideas, etc. As such, this body interacts with various stakeholders such as maintenance and housekeeping staff, vendors, government agencies, etc. 

In most housing societies, women make up for approximately 50% of the total occupants, inclusive of owners or co-owners. But we tend to see that the management committee is dominated by male members. We need to ensure equal representation of men as well as women in the managing committee. 

Equal representation brings balance in communities. How many times have you experienced that the vendors, plumbers, electricians or security person wants to talk to the male member in the house even if you open the door? Increased interaction with women in a position of perceived authority also leads to respect for women and incepts the fact that it is equally ok to have the same discussion with the woman of the house. With time, we will observe the domino effect in all walks of life as people carry their experience outside the gated community. Issues faced by women in terms of security, verbal and non-verbal harassment, exploitation of the domestic workers, etc would also come to the forefront. This is akin to the implementation of 50% seats for women in the Panchayat Raj Institutions which allowed women to be a part of local governance and address several issues that were continually ignored by their predecessors.

 When practised across communities, this presence and visibility of women in decision making positions will help in reducing crime especially against women (and men as well). By taking these simple steps we can contribute to creating a safer environment for our young girls/women and also boys/men. 

With the hope of introducing the above concept in our housing society registered under KSRA 1960 (Bangalore, Karnataka), I put forward a proposal for equal representation of both genders in the MC before the annual elections. The idea was to initiate an open and fair discussion on this topic. Unfortunately, the discussion was forcefully brought to an end even before it started. When I raised a concern, a mob of few men, both young and matured, unleashed a virtual lynch and tried their best to troll me into submission with their vile comments, personal attacks and insulting statements on a forum of 256+ fellow residents. As anticipated we have now ended up with 100% male representation for yet another lopsided MC for the next one year.

My humble request to the District Registrar of Societies, Bangalore City District, Karnataka is to kindly look into this matter and help introduce a provision to ensure a fair representation of both men and women in the management committee of housing societies.