The Editorial (“Time for the final push,” June 16), on the Women’s Reservation Bill, is a timely reminder on the need to enact this piece of legislation. This is the occasion to prove the sincerity of national parties who claim to always have the interests of women at heart at all times.
The Congress party had the best of intentions to pass the Bill but it was running a government with the support of coalition partners who had their own vested interests. If a third of Parliament has women, most of whom will be from the well-to-do upper castes, and the chances of OBCs will be affected is their argument. But such a form of reservation will not only change the power structure in the Lok Sabha but in the State Assemblies too. The BJP now has the power to get the Bill passed quickly and make every single woman in India proud.
There cannot be a more propitious moment than now to enact this Bill. With vociferous opponents like the SP, the BSP and the RJD in disarray in the aftermath of their electoral debacle, the BJP should leverage its numerical strength to push through this much-delayed Bill. Sitting women MPs cutting across party lines should rise to the occasion and mobilise wide support for the smooth passage of the Bill.
As far as the Bill is concerned, the saying “better late than never” is the relevant fact. In India, though some individual women rose to greater heights, the majority continue to be aggressively discriminated against especially in terms of their access to basic amenities like food, education, health, equal wages and safety. A G-20 survey has ranked India as one of the worst places for women to be in. Women’s empowerment can be a reality only when all political parties come forward in achieving the elimination of gender inequality.