This refers to the editorial “Don't fail the women of India” (March 6). With the prospect of the passage of the Women's Reservation Bill — which seeks to reserve one-third of the seats in Parliament and the State legislatures for women — looking bright, it is now up to our political leaders to ensure that it is passed unanimously.
Some sections argue that a law providing for reservation is in itself discriminatory and that women should get elected to the legislature on merit. This argument is advanced only to serve the interests of men. Most women have remained deprived of opportunities in all spheres since Independence. It is, therefore, the supreme duty of a responsible government to ensure that women participate in political life and decision-making. It is heartening to see the two major national parties and the Left coming together for empowering women, transcending political differences.
We too hope the people's representatives will not fail the women of India this time. Efforts should also be made to bring the few parties threatening to oppose the Bill in its present form on board by explaining to them that their demand for a quota for the backward sections among women can be considered at a later stage, if political parties fail to give adequate representation to them. It would be ideal to pass the Women's Reservation Bill in both the houses of Parliament unanimously.
Although Indian women have achieved a lot in the global arena, the sufferings of womenfolk often go unnoticed. The Bill is a ray of hope for the vast majority of women. By passing it, the nation will offer women a platform to raise their voice.
The manner in which the government is pursuing the cause of women's reservation is praiseworthy. The bias women face in India is alarming. If they receive their due representation in Parliament, the highest legislative body, it will indeed be a landmark achievement.
With the Congress, the BJP and the Left parties issuing whip to their MPs to vote for the bill, its passage looks a reality.
For the RJD and the SP, which have opposed the Bill, this is an opportunity to dilute their stand. If the Bill is passed, it will mark yet another achievement for the UPA government.
It is the earnest hope of all right-thinking people that the long-pending Bill will have a smooth passage this time round. Unfortunately, some wrong notions and obstinacy on the part of some parties have stood in the way of its passage all these years. The Hindu's appeal to the polity and Parliament is apt and timely.
Reservation for women in legislatures is a long-pending demand which finally seems to be in the process of being granted.
It is an important step towards enforcing the constitutional mandate against discrimination.
At long last, the Women's Reservation Bill is set to get the green signal. The bill is also significant for the favourable consensus it has brought about among all major political parties. One hopes the healthy trend will continue whenever a united approach is required to meet the threat posed by political extremists and religious fanatics.
The opposition to the Bill by parties such as the RJD is unfortunate. At the same time, it is heartening to see major national parties such as the BJP and the Congress joining hands to support the Bill.
Traditionally, Indian women have been credited with the successful management of their homes, good upbringing of children, imbibing family and cultural values, and keeping the family united. I am sure they will be equally successful in managing the Parliament House. As a first step, they will hopefully infuse a sense of responsibility among the members.
It will be a historical moment in the annals of women's emancipation if the Bill is passed in Parliament. In fact, the term “empowerment” is inappropriate. What is being sought is the “restoration” of women's rights, which were usurped by men and kept as such for ages.
It would be appropriate to say that the passage of the bill would fulfil the dream cherished not only by Rajiv Gandhi but also by the vast majority that prefers gender equality to a male-dominated society. It is not an exaggeration to say that those who oppose the bill want the existing condition of women to continue.
C.P. Velayudhan Nair,
The passage of the Women's Reservation Bill is not sufficient. In panchayat-level institutions, women are administrators only on paper. It is the menfolk who rule by proxy. This should change. The Bill should aim at bringing in real empowerment.