In an era of upcoming equality between men and women, also known as gender equity, you might ask the question why there should reservations of seats for women and not for men. In spite of this, there is a growing need for reservation of seats for women in the Indian Parliament today.
Indeed, it is a very important topic, and a sensitive issue at that. It is to be not only dealt with utmost urgency, but also with diplomacy and tact. There are of course, several reasons why this growth is occurring, especially in a developing country like India.
We will enumerate and discuss these reasons in detail below, along with some correct statistics, a few interesting analogies, accompanied with explanations.
The Condition of Women in India
From the beginning of the Indian society, women have always been traditionally discriminated against. They have almost always been excluded and left out of both political decisions as well as family decisions. They are very rarely acknowledged for all the hard work they do daily.
According to the laws and the Constitution of India, however, women are recognised as equal to men. They are legal citizens of this country and they are supposed to have equal rights as men do. However, this is not very easily accepted by men. In fact, this notion of thinking is almost unacceptable to the male dominant society of India.
Due to this, women go under terrible hardships and sufferings on a day to day basis. They are nothing less than powerless and helpless, especially in the rural houses and the lesser developed slum areas of the country. They are mistreated both inside and outside their dwelling place, and for some women, the place that they call home is nothing less than a torture cabin.
Most Indian women are uneducated. They are malnourished and often in very poor health. The tradition followed in Indian houses is that the men will devour the food first, and the leftovers is literally left over for the women. This practice is very derogatory to the status of women.
Throughout their lives, males are always given much more reverence. Right from the time of the birth, when the terrible customs such as female infanticide, or maybe even abandoning the girl child on the roads, or in garbage bins, are practised, to the education difference, where boys are given a minimum education of ten plus two years, while girls are taught to roll out ‘Rotis’ and sweep floors properly, to the marriageable age, when men proudly claim their new wives, who are nothing more than slaves.
The funny part is that these slaves are not even bought, but rather the seller gives the money in the form of the dowry.
However, as of the most recent times, the status of women is undergoing a very large change.
Many great reformers had been promoting equal rights, back in the 1900’s and it is only just now when the practice is catching up, especially in the more developed urban areas. Girls are breaking records and busting myths about how they are not at the same level to compete with the masculine gender.
But this achievement is only an improvement in the behaviour, personality and thinking of the women of the world. For the men, women are still nothing more than either play things for them to use and throw or slaves, for their enjoyment. The crimes committed against women can only be described as atrocious, for lack of a more terrible word. Rape, murder, molestation, eve-teasing – name it and most girls in India have faced it. It has become so common that it is practically normalised at this point of time.
The Current Statistics of Women who participate in politics
The term political participation covers a whole range of topics under its spectrum. It does not just stop at the right to vote. That would be quite ironic seeing as women had to hold a huge revolution abroad to be qualified to vote, a whole feminist movement that took the world by a revolution.
But, as I was saying, political participation does not merely cover the right of women to cast their vote. It goes way beyond that. It includes the decision making process of the parliament, the area of political activism, and the political consciousness, among many other things.
As of now, women in India, participate in voting, which is claimed to be a great achievement but is not realistically one. They also run for public offices and take part in political parties, but usually at a much lower level than men, unless the control of the party runs in the family.
In the 1990’s, that is to say, which was dominated mainly by the Indian National Congress, women were not very often kept in power. When the Indian National Congress lost its control, the power was restored to it by the participation of women. They then instituted a very important change to women’s participation in politics by raising the women’s quota to thirty three percent at all levels of the party.
Till date, India has had only one female President, who was Pratibha Patil, and one female Prime Minister, who was Indira Gandhi.
In the 1990’s, women’s participation was at an extremely low level. There was only a ten to twelve percent participation of women in political parties. From the year 1970 to the year 1980, there was no woman candidate in seventy percent of the electoral races. Even in this new century, as of 2013, it has been observed and recorded that only eleven percent of the membership of the Lok Sabha was constituted by women and only ten point six percent in the Rajya Sabha.
Why do we need reservations of seats for Women?
Despite the very long and numerous years of democratic politics, women are still largely kept outside the realm of politics, especially the national political games. Despite being an increasing part of the workforce of India, they are seen as nothing more than extensions of the household.
This is supposed to be an era of equality between men and women, in all possible areas. Politics is one of these areas. Seeing as there are all natural barriers that promote involvement of men in politics and debar women, there is a need for reservation of seats for women in the Parliament. It is not right to have a Parliament made up of eighty five percent men and only fifteen percent women (that too is being extremely generous), when most of the crimes are committed against women.
Reservation of seats for women will empower the feminist society. It will promote the status of women in our community. The type of equality that would be created will most definitely create a big impact on women of India, maybe even on a global level.
The reservations will change the social structure of our country.
Once they are involved in the parliament, especially in the judicial and legislative sections, the crimes that occur on almost a daily basis to which women are forced to be victims, will be more seriously viewed. These crimes will be considered, and dealt with on the a righteous and correct basis, instead of it being suppressed by the media and hidden away
There is a very famous saying that goes, “Behind every successful man is a supportive woman.”
Women are practically kept for that purpose: to support and help, and not to do anything that is beneficial only to herself. But what nobody really knows is that is not the end of the phrase. It goes on to say, “But behind every successful women is herself.”
But we are not giving our women a chance to succeed.
Why is it so? Are we scared? Will her success threaten ours? It may be so, but when you think of women succeeding in the political parties, it would generally mean that her success is the nation’s success. And our nation’s success is indirectly our success.
So let us give her the chance.