Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Four Reasons Not to Pass the Women Reservation Bill

Congress led UPA government is trying to amend the Indian Constitution for reserving one third of the seats in Parliament and Assembly to women. This is done with the intention of empowering the women but will this bill serve its purpose? I don’t think so and for these reasons.

1.Women empowerment should start from the bottom and not from top

India now has a woman President, the president of the ruling party is a woman, the chief minister of the largest state in India is a woman. India had a very powerful woman Prime Minister in Indira Gandhi. Did any of these empower the women who are struggling hard to make both ends meet in the field or a factory? Giving one third reservation to women will be a cosmetic change that tries to fix the problem of women empowerment without understanding the real reason for the lack of empowerment of women in India.

2. Women with grass root support may still never reach the top

Assume that the Women’s Reservation Bill is passed and Baramati that elects the Sharad Pawar for ever is made a reserved constituency for women. Who will contest from there? Most probably his wife or daughter or daughter in law or one of his close relatives – something similar to what Laloo Yadav did when he was forced to resign as Chief Minister of Bihar. Does such a scenario help women empowerment?

3. Possibility of Women winning from Reserved Constituency being labeled as second class MPs/MLAs or weak leaders

There is a good possibility that women getting elected to Parliament/Assembly being seen as being weak and reaching there just because of reservation. They may be portrayed as leaders who are inefficient and could never had won the election if not for the reservation. This may hamper their competent functioning as an elected representative.

4. Nursing a Constituency will be a thing of the past

I believe this is the most damaging thing if this bill gets passed in the parliament. Even though majority of politicians openly deny this the fact is that almost all politicians are after power. Politics as social service is a thing of the past. One way to attain power for a politician is winning the elections to the parliament and assembly. Most of the elected representatives do good things to the constituency not for the love to the people of that constituency but to get themselves reelected in the next election. If the elected representative knows that he/she cannot context election next time from this constituency there is a very good chance that he/she stops nursing the constituency. If that happens who is the loser? The common man that include the women the bill is trying to empower.

Don’t mistake me – I am not against more women coming to politics. All I am against is reservation of constituencies for women. Why can’t UPA government bring a bill that mandates all national and state parties to set aside one third of their nominations to women? Won’t that enable able and deserving women to climb the ladder of political power without the help of reservations?

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Anonymous Mumbai Paused said...

Reservation for women exists in the panchayat level.

March 09, 2010 9:22 AM  
Anonymous kamal said...

very true… and aren’t we doing just the opposite of what the word “Democracy” means?

This bill is an attack on a very basic right of every Indian citizen of electing the best person they believe could be for the constituency, for the unjustifiable reason that He is not a woman!

Takes away a very basic right of a male Indian citizen to be able to contest an election from the place of his choice and being able to serve his fellowmen.

This bill, if passed, will mean that all the current honorable members of parliament believe that Men leaders are incapable of taking care of the interests of women in country, and treating them in a fair manner. How true or false is the above perception, can be easily answered by the fact that today, the president of the largest political party, the president of lok sabha, and the president of India are all women! (I sincerely congratulate them) Any sane calculation will testify that women in India are by no means hindered if they have the willingness, and any demands for a quota could very well be termed as opportunism, trying to milk the widespread sympathy for women everywhere.

Today we have a strength more than 10% of women in parliament, which if analyzed carefully, is a good number, given the fact that very few women as compared to men choose to go to politics from as early as their college days. There nothing stopping them, and if they are willing to do so, their number will come up automatically. Apparently, it’s a matter of choice and not that of repression of women, and can be taken care of easily without any reservations.

This will bring hatred and frustration towards the unfair system, into the young (and old) men of this country who want their fair share of opportunities in the next election, to serve their neighborhood and the nation. Creating gender inequality in no means can be the best way to bring gender equality!

We are not against any progress of women in the country, we in fact are happy to see countless organizations working day and night for welfare of women. If they continue the good work, that day is not very far that they can happily close their shutters and the woman in India can take a flight on her own!

March 09, 2010 6:19 PM  
Blogger Karthikeyan said...

All the sweeping statements and hyperventilation aside, it would be interesting to see women's perspective on this. Hopefully, a few of the women visiting the blog would care to share their thoughts.

March 09, 2010 8:54 PM  
Anonymous A-kay said...

I am against reservation of any sort - upliftment of any section of the society can be achieved through several other measures than reservation. Much as I detest them, a Mayavathi or a Mamta Banerjee did not need reservation to raise in politics and so is the case with the leader of opposition - Sushma Swaraj. This goes to prove that we really do not need reservation to help women enter politics or even to wield power. As it is we have reserved constituencies and we are going to add more to this mix, which means that we are not going to elect the best possible man (or woman) for the job but the best available & allowed person. This will become a joke, where the wife / daughter / mother / sister of a male politician will contest and in all probability, win the election and how does that help women empowerment - beats me!

That said, I am told that the 33% reservation in the Panchayat level is working well at the village level, so may be we can hope something good will turn out of this too.

PS: This is a woman's perspective ; I do not and cannot claim to speak for all woman, but this definitely is my 2 cents, FWIW.

March 09, 2010 11:55 PM  
Blogger rashmi1bhatt said...

Let’s be fair and ask ourselves a simple question, if you were a
famous politician and you had a son and a daughter, who would you
groom into a politician? If you look into our 63 years old
independence history, there are a very few politicians who gave there
daughters the chance to get into the politics (most of them,if any, promoted
their daughters because they didn’t have a son). Gender inequality has
been instilled so deep in our hearts/minds that we don’t even see it
when it comes face to face with us. There are so many professions
which are not considered women’s job by majority of our people even in
this day and age, and unfortunately politics is one of them. . So, the
real concern is not on women’s ability to fight a fair election
against their male counterparts but is on providing a fair chance to
all women who are interested to take on this duty. Indian politics is
stuffed with men of wealth and muscle power, and criminal background,
so, how can we even imagine that women candidates will have a fair
chance to fight against these politicians. For middle and lower class
in India politics is still an untouched territory both for men and
women, very few honest people can gather the courage to fight in an
election.The reservation will not only improve the women
representation in the politics but will also bring lateral shift in
the attitude of Indian people for women in politics. Women who were
interested in the politics but could get a chance because their
counterparts were too strong in terms of money and muscle power; will
now have a fair chance to show that they have what it takes to lead
the nation.
Even if the 33% reservation doesn’t change much in terms of social
disparity it will certainly change the attitude of people towards this
People will start believing that women can and should opt for this
profession, one because they will get the chance and second because
they can.

March 16, 2010 3:40 PM  

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