Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Women and reservations in legislatures

On 8/3/2010 bill for one third reservation for women in legislatures is to be presented in the Rajya Sabha. I am opposed to the bill.
Those who favour the bill give various arguments justifying it. One strange argument is that only 10% of women win elections. Only 10% or less women win elections was not mentioned.
The bill is elitist, unjust and undemocratic. The argument that women are 50% of the population and hold 10% of seats does not hold water. Women are free to contest 100% of seats. If women vote for women candidates women representatives will be more. Many women don’t vote for women candidates. They, like men, vote for parties. With 33% reservation women will be free to contest 100% seats while men can only contest 67% seats.
Reservation for women in rural and urban bodies should not have been there and should go.
Reservation will mean women from families of existing legislators will become candidates. It will not help ordinary women. To say that even if they are family members they are women is not a sound argument.
Women who are competent win elections. Indira Gandhi became prime minister. Pratibha Patil became president. There have been many women chief ministers. Some of them are leaders of their parties. All of them succeeded without reservations. Reservation for women in legislatures will mean incompetent women will become legislators.
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  1. There shouldn’t be any reservations.

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