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Women protesting for passing theWomen’s Reservation Bill.

On 12 September 1996, a speech took place in the Lok Sabha of the Indian parliament, wherein it was introduced that from now on, one-third of seats will be reserved for women in the Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies. But, when we look at the present scenario of women representation in the Indian parliament, it is evident how the Women's Reservation Bill exists only on paper and is yet to become operational

Even an analysis was done by the PRS Legislative Research, and it showed that less than fifteen percent of the women are a part of the Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies. Moreover, it is understood that when there is less representation of women in the legislative bodies, then its impact is directly seen on the country's decision making and policy framing.

In fact, globally, India stands at the 148th position out of a list of 193 countries when it comes to women representation in their national parliaments. When twenty-five years ago, the bill regarding women's representation was introduced in the parliament, loud debates and voices of resistance were heard. Even objectionable comments on women and their minimal role in the society were made. Many regional and national parties, like the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Congress, and the United Front coalition government which brought the first legislation in 1996, have made numerous attempts to pass the bill.

people holding a signage during daytime When asked from many women political leaders, they said that the bill exists only on paper because men are incapable of giving up their seats to women. Photo by Liam Edwards on Unsplash

When asked from many women political leaders, they said that the bill exists only on paper because men are incapable of giving up their seats to women. Even if you see today, only one state is represented by a woman, and that is West Bengal whose chief minister is Mamata Banerjee. This clearly shows a wide gap between the representation of men and women in Indian politics.

Back in 2014, when Lok Sabha elections took place, BJP and Congress, both the leading parties of India committed to implement the bill. But as we know, it did not happen. In fact, it is vile to see how even the “panchayat" or village level government secures fifty percent reservation for women. But, the same could not be done at a national level.

Seeing this situation, we must note that the representation of women in a country matters significantly because it affects directly on the nature of the country. In easy terms, the more the representation of women, the more will the country elevate. Hence, it is high time to make the Women's Reservation Bill operational and successful in India, which is one of the larger democracies of the world.

Keywords: Women, Representation, Equality, India, Democracy, Parliament, Governments.


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