It is wonderful to see the Women’s bill which necessitates thirty three percent reservations of all legislative seats being ratified by the Rajya Sabha.
It is abysmal that despite constituting half the population of the country it is necessary to implement such a measure to ensure that gender equality rises in our nation. The reality is that the Economist magazine has chosen India in its editorial to demonstrate female infanticide and the challenges the world faces this year on International women’s day. As the UN points out, our country faces the challenge of the female child constantly fighting for her right to be born, to be healthy, survive beyond the first year and to be educated. She thereafter fights for her dignity against both sexual and physical exploitation. This blog was among the earliest to write on the Gender Gap rising in India and how our present system does not seem to work in improving the plight of women.
When a narrow band of people represent a major mass it can translate to elitism. We do have competent women parliamentarians but a large percentage of them have had the benefit of a background of either the civil services or politicians in their family. It is a difficult battle for women to establish themselves as politicians in the national arena and it has usually been at the cost of them being married or bearing children. We need women in the legislative who are from the normal strata of society. Women who understand the issues faced in marriage, social systems and parenting. With the numbers required to meet the number in the reservation, our politicians will have no choice but to search for such women. The male politicians do not become “Bramhacharies” when they enter the political arena, why then do these rules apply to the women?
The political battlefield is no different from the private sector where the representation of women in senior positions is few. People go through the motions of wanting to hire women but while it is not mentioned it is understood that single women with low “encumbrances” will be preferred. Men are not asked during interviews about their children, support systems at home to take care of them, ability to travel and commitment to work. The only way for corporations to increase gender diversity is to hire and retain the average woman in the work force and understand the multiple roles they have to juggle every day.
A large fresh infusion of women in the political arena is welcome for we hope they will not only bring about more sensitivity, less corruption and hopefully less hooliganism in the parliament. It has been proven without doubt that having both the sexes in an environment actually brings down animosity, increases good behavior, improves language used and also improves the appearance of both the sexes.