Representation Matters - Eastern Mirror
Friday, June 14, 2024

Representation Matters

By The Editorial Team Updated: Jun 11, 2024 12:17 am

Women empowerment in the country has taken a backseat as the number of women members in the Lok Sabha has gone down to merely 13 per cent, making a mockery of the Women’s Reservation Bill which dictates 33 per cent reservation for women in legislature. While the recently dissolved 17th Lok Sabha had 78 women members, there are only 74 women law-makers in the 18th Lok Sabha, despite the fact that women constitute 48 per cent of the country’s electorate. Such a poor representation of women in the 18th Lok Sabha was expected as out of the 8360 persons contesting elections, only 10 per cent were women, while two major parties the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress had nominated only 69 and 41 women candidates respectively. Among the states, West Bengal has elected the highest number of women MPs to Lok Sabha, but other states have not  followed suit. The scenario should be addressed immediately if we are truly interested in removing gender discrimination because without political and legislative power the dream of equal representation for women will remain unfulfilled. Many other nations have overtaken India in this regard. South Africa, England and the United States of America (US) lead the list of countries with the highest percentage of women legislators. Even nations like Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Netherlands are way ahead of India in ensuring women in legislative activities. It is time now for India to follow these countries to make real strides towards empowering women.

Politics in India is highly dominated by men and women rarely get an opportunity to carve out a niche for themselves in legislative business despite the fact that Indian women have excelled in many other fronts both at the national and international level. It depicts a pathetic picture for a country which had a woman Prime Minister way back in the mid-sixties. Apart from having a woman Prime Minister, women have also occupied almost all other major legislative and administrative posts in India. The country has even taken the historic decision to induct women in the army. But such efforts appear to be futile as women are yet to make any real impact in politics. As a matter of fact, women are clearly being used as a ‘vote bank’, instead of being viewed as an equal partner in nation building, an act against national interest. Although women are coming out to vote in large numbers these days, they are still denied their dues despite strengthening democracy in the country. In the recently concluded general elections female voter turnout was nearly 66 per cent, which was almost equal to male voter participation. Clearly, it’s time for India to ensure adequate representation of women in legislative affairs so that genuine grievances can be redressed. Otherwise, utter neglect shown towards women may prove to be a major barrier in our quest to national development and prosperity.

By The Editorial Team Updated: Jun 11, 2024 12:17:04 am
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