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EDITORIAL ANALYSIS : The women’s reservation Bill cannot wait any longer


Source: The Hindu

  • Prelims: National Perspective Plan for Women (1988), Panchayati Raj Act, women reservation bill etc
  • Mains GS Paper I and II: Vulnerable sections of society, Laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of vulnerable sections of society etc



  • 75 years after Independence, Parliament lacks substantial representation from the women population, with women holding just 14% of the seats.




Role played by the Women:

  • Women played a crucial role in India’s fight for independence, by organizing demonstrations, leading rallies, and raising awareness.
  • There were numerous female representatives in the Constituent Assembly.
  • Three of India’s largest States, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, and Uttar Pradesh, were in the spotlight for being led by women Chief Ministers.
  • Sushma Swaraj led the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Sonia Gandhi served as both President of the Congress Party and Chairperson of the United Progressive Alliance.
  • India had its first woman President, Pratibha Patil around the same time.


Background of women reservation bill:

  • Originated from the pre-Independence era when several women’s organizations demanded political representation for women.
  • In 1955: government appointed committee recommended that 10% of seats in the Lok Sabha and State legislative assemblies should be reserved for women.
  • In the 1980s: demand for women’s reservations gained momentum.
  • The National Perspective Plan for Women (1988) recommended that 30% of seats in all elected bodies should be reserved for women.
    • This recommendation was reiterated in the National Policy for the Empowerment of Women, which was adopted in 2001.
  • The Panchayati Raj Act(1993) was amended to reserve 33% of all seats in local government bodies for women
  • In 1996, the Women’s Reservation Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha.
    • The Bill proposed to reserve one-third of seats in the Lok Sabha and State legislative Assemblies for women.
    • Facing strong opposition from some political parties it lapsed.
    • It gained more momentum again in the early 2000s.
    • In 2010, the Bill was approved in the Rajya Sabha.


Global examples

  • The Scandinavian countries have implemented policies and governance structures that support gender equality and women’s empowerment
    • includes women’s representation in political and leadership positions.
  • Countries led by women have shown to have some of the best policies and governance practices. Example: New Zealand.
  • The deep scars in Rwanda(a central African nation)from the genocide, are being healed by predominantly a leadership that comprises women.
    • It has resulted in key social reforms.
  • Norway implemented a quota system in 2003 that required 40% of seats on corporate boards to be occupied by women.


Way Forward

  • It is time to acknowledge the systematic exclusion of women from politics and demand action to create a more equitable political landscape.
  • B R Ambedkar: The progress of a community can be measured by the degree of progress which women have achieved.
    • But we are still far away from that benchmark.
  • Women’s leadership qualities are not hidden from anyone, so the denial of opportunity for political representation represents grave injustice.
  • As India is still struggling to provide basic health care and education, necessary for the dignified life of citizens, must now let women take charge of the task of transforming India.
  • As India strives to become a Vishwa Guru, we must not overlook the pivotal role women can play in nation building and development.
  • Much would depend on the tooth-to-tail ratio of any organization.
    • When the number of women in leadership positions is enough.
      • It generates confidence in subordinate women.



Discuss the desirability of greater representation to women in the higher judiciary to ensure diversity, equity and inclusiveness.(UPSC 2021) (200 WORDS, 10 MARKS)