The principle of gender equality is enshrined in the Indian Constitution in its Preamble, Fundamental Rights, Fundamental Duties and Directive Principles
From the Fifth Five Year Plan (1974-78) onwards there had been a marked shift in the approach to women’s issues from welfare to development.
The National Commission for Women was set up by an Act of Parliament in 1990 to safeguard the rights and legal entitlements of women.
The 73rd and 74th Amendments (1993) to the Constitution of India have provided for reservation of seats in the local bodies of Panchayats and Municipalities for women, laying a strong foundation for their participation in decision making at the local levels.
Provisions of the Women Reservation Bill
Political Reservation for Indian women at each level of legislative decision-making, starting with the Indian Parliament, down to state and local legislatures.
If the women reservation bill is passed, 1/3 of the total available seats would be reserved for women of India in national, state, or local governments.
In continuation of the existing provisions already mandating reservations for scheduled caste and scheduled tribes, one-third of such SC and ST candidates must be women.
The arguments in favor of the Women Reservation Bill
It would lead to gender equality in Indian Parliament, resulting in the women empowerment as a whole.
women reservation -- a curse or a blessing For ages, no matter to which nation they belong, women in general have been suffering from agony, distress, discrimination, apathy. The tormentor turns out to no one but their own family, friends and fellow humans. Every nation has a sordid story of women discrimination behind it. No doubt, the position and status of the women of today has imporved quite ...
Historically, the women Bill’s supporters say, women are deprived in India.
Increased political participation of Indian women will help them fight the abuse, discrimination, and inequality women suffer from in India.
Reservation for women in panchayat elections
33.3 per cent seats in panchayat elections have been reserved for Indian women already.
The experience of Women reservation at the panchayat level has been very encouraging.
A million women are being elected to the panchayats in the country every five years. This is the largest mobilization of women in public life in the world.
Women Reservation Bill in Brief
As nearly as about one-third of all seats in Lok and state legislative Assemblies shall be reserved for women.
Reservation shall apply in case of seats reserved for Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) as well.
The women reservation bill will provide Reservation for women at each level of legislative decision-making, starting with the Lok Sabha, down to state and local legislatures.
If the Bill is passed, one-third of the total available seats would be reserved for women in national, state, or local governments. And this number will be 181 .
History of Women Reservation Bill
1996 — The Deve Gowda government introduces the women’s reservation bill as 81st Constitutional Amendment Bill.
1998 — The bill is re-introduced in the 12th Lok Sabha as the 84th Constitutional Amendment Bill by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government headed Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
1999 — The NDA government re-introduces the bill in the 13th Lok Sabha.
2002 — The Bill is introduced in parliament but fails to sail through.
2003 — Bill introduced twice in parliament.
2004 — The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government includes it in the Common Minimum Programme.
India witnessed the high voltage drama over much talked Women’ Reservation Bill in the Parliament. The Women’s Reservation Bill is the most essential bill to empower women in Indian politics. According to the bill, women will enjoy 33 per cent of the reservations in the Lower House of the Parliament and Assemblies. Rajya Sabha, the Upper House of the Parliament has passed the Women’s Reservation ...
2010 — The Cabinet clears the Bill for taking it up in the Rajya Sabha and passed it in Rajya Sabha in March, 2010
The bill is pending from the year 1996. However, Indian politicians are not ready to accept this bill so every time we see the new drama, new demand from political parties.
Drawbacks of the BillRotational reservation of one-third seats is the most serious flaw in the Bill. The pre-election nursing of a Lok Sabha or State Assembly constituency involves a very heavy investment on the part of the political parties and individual aspirants. It would lead to a grave uncertainty for sitting male MPs eroding their meticulously developed political base and leaving them no scope to pursue politics as a life-long mission or career.
The Bill also ignores an important recommendation of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the 81st Amendment Bill about extending reservation to Rajya Sabha and Legislative Councils that was incorporated in the Clause 21 of its Report.
The Bill turns women’s quota into a zero sum game where women would get seats only if male MPs were removed from one third of the constituencies.
Country % of elected women
United Kingdom 20
Sri Lanka 6
Key Features of Woman Reservation Bill
The Bill seeks to reserve, as nearly as possible, one-third of all seats for women in the Lok Sabha and the state legislative assemblies (including Delhi).
The allocation of reserved seats shall be determined by such authority as prescribed by Parliament.
As nearly as possible, one third of the total number of seats reserved for Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribes (SC/ST) in the Lok Sabha and the legislative assemblies shall be reserved for SC/ST women.
Reservation of seats for women shall cease to exist 15 years after the commencement of the Act.