Thiruvananthapuram Declaration seeks passage of reservation Bill

Speaker M.B. Rajesh with the participants during the valedictory of the National Women Legislators’ Conference in Thiruvananthapuram on Friday.

Speaker M.B. Rajesh with the participants during the valedictory of the National Women Legislators’ Conference in Thiruvananthapuram on Friday. | Photo Credit: S. MAHINSHA

The first National Women Legislators’ Conference which concluded here on Friday demanded immediate steps to ensure the passage of the long-pending Women’s Reservation Bill which envisages 33% reservation for women in the Lok Sabha and State legislatures.

The Thiruvananthapuram Declaration, adopted at the valedictory session, lamented the trajectory of the Bill, which has been pending for 26 years, as a sullied blot on the democratic values and legislative traditions of the country.

‘Bill in limbo’

The resolution, moved by Higher Education Minister R. Bindu, noted that the Bill remains in limbo despite all governments that have ruled the country since 1996 (when the Bill was introduced) asserting their commitment to its passage.

“Despite the absence of the Women’s Reservation Act, the people of our country did create a historic record in the last general elections when 78 women were elected to the lower house of Parliament. But, this number by itself cannot be termed a salutary feat. For, India’s ranking in the participation of women in lawmaking has reached an all-time low of 148 whereas the ranking had been better at 95 in 1998,” it stated.

Targets of abuse

Another resolution moved by Tamil Nadu MLA A. Tamilarasi called for a legislation to curb abusive, bullying, derogatory and misogynistic conduct in public, private and virtual spaces.

It observed that the universal spread of social media platforms and the relative anonymity it offers have spurred such behaviour. There have been reflections of these abominable manners among the political class too, both at the levels of practitioners at all levels of the political structure and the cyber wings created and run by supporters of different organisations.

Taking note of instances in which women political leaders have been targeted, the conference viewed the tendency as “a manifestation of the worst forms of hegemonic power and patriarchy”.

Inaugurating the valedictory session, Speaker M.B. Rajesh said the conference underlined the importance of equality, women empowerment, women and child development and equal representation of women in decision-making bodies.

Dr. Bindu; Health Minister Veena George; Nimishaben Suthar, Gujarat Minister of State for Tribal Development, Health and Family Welfare; Padmini Dian, Odisha Minister for Handlooms, Textiles and Handicrafts; Anila Bhendia, Chhattisgarh Minister for Women and Child Development; and Kerala Legislative Assembly Secretary S.V. Unnikrishnan Nair also spoke on the occasion.

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Printable version | May 28, 2022 7:32:17 am |