Representatives of women organisations from across the country gathered in the Capital on Tuesday and took out a protest march on Parliament Street to express their disappointment with the UPA Government for not being able to fulfil its promise to ensure the passage of the Women's Reservation Bill in Lok Sabha.
“Despite repeated verbal assurances made by the leaders the Bill hasn't moved forward. We have been fighting for our democratic right for 33 per cent representation in Parliament and State Assemblies for nearly two decades now. Through our protest here in the Capital we want to reiterate the fact that 33 per cent reservation will empower women by increasing their political representation and will open new spaces for focusing on gender based discrimination in the political sphere,” said Jyotsna Chatterji of the Joint Women's Programme.
At the “call to attention dharna”, the national women organisations along with their Delhi chapters also expressed their deep disappointment over “continued betrayal by the UPA Government”.
Maintaining that democracy has to be inclusive and equitable, a demand was made to the UPA Government to fulfil its promise and forthwith introduce the Bill and allow it to be debated on the floor of the Rajya Sabha.
The women organisations also adopted resolutions demanding an early passage of the Bill for protection of women against sexual harassment, a comprehensive Bill to address killings and crimes being perpetrated in the name of “honour” and the law on sexual assault after due amendment to address the multiple dimensions of violence suffered by victims.
“We maintain that not passing the 33 per cent Women's Reservation Bill will encourage the women to be denied equal rights in land, property, access to education and jobs. It has perpetrated infliction of violence against women in myriad forms, ranging from sex selective abortion and domestic violence, to killing and murder on account of dowry and false honour, and sexual harassment which have become a part of our daily existence,” said Sudha Sundararaman of the All-India Democratic Women's Association.
The women's organisations also reiterated their demand for passage of the Bill without any dilution in the 33 per cent minimum representation for women. “We look forward to more positive action by the political class to ensure that women from minorities and other under-represented sections come into the top decision-making bodies. Until then we will keep up with our the demands,” said Ms. Sundararaman.