19 September, 2020

Reservations About The Bill

In its present form, the Bill may spawn 'State-sponsored feminism' rather than address real issues

Reservations About The Bill

DOES the Women's Reservation Bill 1996 embody the diktat of the 'gender-sensitive', or is it a first step in democratising the electoral system? A.B. Vajpayee has announced that the undiluted bill will be tabled in this parliamentary session. Yet this landmark bill—one of its kind in the world—goes to Parliament as the consensus among women splinters. Politicians have been divided on it ever since Mulayam Singh Yadav can remember, but now increasing numbers of women are beginning to question whether a statutory fiat from the top can ever fully change social relations, even as the embattled PMappears determined to stake a claim to 'progressive' policy and the female vote. "Greater participation of women will lead to better governance," maintains CWDS chairperson Vina Mazumdar, but others question whether, in the land of Jaya-lalitha and Mayawati, women politicians are by definition good politicians.

State-level women's groups allege Delhi feminists have failed to generate a meaningful debate. But those supporting the bill believe that...



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