There is a buzz going around on Woman Reservation bill which was first muted in 1999 and had seen dramatic events whenever it was placed on LS. Key would be once passed this bill would ‘reserve’ 180 odd (33%) of the seats for women in Lok Shabha and similarly 33% in state Vidhan Shabhas as well.
While there is a need to get more women in apex decision making bodies of governance but I feel this ‘back door entry system’ would do more harm to the country.
Vinod has already written how rather than empowering common women it will empower Gharana’s and could make those 180 seats almost exclusive for political families and out of bound for common folks.
Another key aspect we need to take into account is the roles played by the institutions were we plan to have Women reservation.
Over the years with liberal dose of criminals and dynasties, decision making capabilities of Parliament has reduced. There are far more walkouts and slogan shouting rather than healthy debates on policy decisions. If we reserve 33% (or rather de-reserve 33% seats from men as few have started calling it) there is a real chance of these women rather than being true representatives of public would be ceremonial heads of their families.
So if a criminal is barred from contesting his wife/daughter/mother would be contest from reserved seats.
All the seats which get marked for women lets say in 2014 will see wives of current sitting MPs contest the elections.
What is the objective of the bill? Is it to empower women? I guess yes.. is this the best way of doing it?
If we make reservations in highest decision making institutions of our country will that enhance the decision making capacity of these institutions? Why do we have a parliament and such a rigorous election process for entering into parliament? Isn’t that to provide policy directions to the whole country? Are we by reserving seats for special groups enhancing or reducing its efficiency?
Before we start taking sides as pro- or anti-women empowerment (or anti feminists) imagine the situation or who will be entering into parliament in near future?
Does everyone really believe that this reservation will allow Meera Sanyal and likes of her to enter into Parliament? I am pretty sure they have not reached to the position where they are through reservation but through their hard work and because they are the best in their chosen field.
We have a woman President and now a woman speaker even without any such reservation. They are there not because they are women. Our biggest state is ruled by a woman and she has reached there through her hard work not through some reservation. Our capital is ruled by another lady and people are voting her back to power everytime she had asked for vote. I do not find anyone discriminating against them because they are women.
Do we need women like them or do we need more WAGs of political families?
I would like to bet that after the Bill WAGs of political families & criminals will have better chance of entering the Parliament than likes of Meera Sanyal, atleast in next couple of decades.
Do we really need to cripple our Parliament further (after dynasties and criminals) when we badly need to send best of the breed so that they can take best possible decisions irrespective of their sex, caste or religion?
Empowerment needs to happen at the lowest level in schools, colleges, by not denying them education, by not discriminating against them in jobs.
For Parliament we need people who are already empowered & are proven leaders not people who will get empowered by entering there.