Women’s groups and leaders demand immediate passage of Women’s Reservation Bill

Women’s groups and leaders demand immediate passage of Women’s Reservation Bill

Landmark Consultation on Women’s Reservation Bill lists key action points for women leaders and participants

Chennai, 20th July 2019: India ranks 148th out of 190 countries in political participation of women and continues to rank 3rdlowest in the world in health and survival of women. (Source: Inter-Parliamentary Unit). Despite some improvements, sex selection, child marriage, and a low female workforce participation rate make women a vulnerable population, Globally, India ranks 20th from the bottom in women’s representation in Parliament. Out of 543 MPs that have been elected in the 17thLokSabha Elections only 78 are women. (Source: Association of Democratic Reforms). Such dismal statistics regarding the situation of women in India point to the need for greater women’s representation in Parliament and Legislative Assemblies. Unfortunately, the Women’s Reservation Bill which has the potential to transform this adverse gender ratio in Indian politics and governance has been pending for more than two decades.

Centre for Social Research with support from Shakti and Global Concerns, India organized a landmark consultation in Chennai today with the primary goal of creating numerous women leaders who will bring gender parity in governance, and thereby address critical women’s rights issues in the country.

The consultation listed the following goals for the participants and groups members: i) Get the Women’s Reservation Bill passed in the national and state legislatures; ii) Ensure that 50% tickets are provided to female candidates for contesting election, iii) Increase the political representation of women in the internal affairs of political parties, iv) Ensure increase in gender budget for women’s health and safety, and v) Ensure that 1/2 seats in all internal committees of political parties are reserved for women. The consultation also saw women leaders and experts discuss the above pertinent issues with students of Loyola ICAM College of Engg & Tech, Chennai, local and SHG women leaders.

The participants in Chennai’s state consultation included MP Ms. Kanimozhi, DMK Deputy Leader, MP Dr. K Jayakumar, INC, MP Mr. C.N Annadurai, DMK, MP Mr. Ravikumar VCK and MP Ms. Sumathy (Thamizachi) DMK along with Dr. Ranjana Kumari, Director, Centre for Social Research (CSR), Ms. Brinda Adige of Global Concerns India and Ms. Tara Krishnaswamy of Shakti.

The Women’s Reservation Bill (WRB), The Constitution 108th Amendment Bill 2008, is the longest pending bill in the history of independent India. The Bill proposes to reserve a minimum of 33% seats for women in Parliament and in State Legislative Assemblies. The Bill has first introduced in Parliament 23 years ago and has not yet been converted into an Act due to negligence from all successive governments and strong opposition from various political parties in the past as well as strong patriarchal norms prevailing in our society.

Centre for Social Research has conducted various programs at the State level, including in Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Delhi and Chhattisgarh to spread awareness on the Women Reservation Bill and gather support for its passage in the Parliament