New Delhi, (IANS) : Several members of women’s rights groups assembled here on Tuesday to demand from the government passage of long-pending Women’s Reservation Bill by Parliament.
The members said that the bill was even among the promises made by the Bharatiya Janata Party, which leads the ruling coalition, in its election manifesto.
“It seems that women have no standing at all in their eyes. We have been asking for the clearance of Bill for so long but no one seems to care,” Ranjana Kumari, Director, Centre for Social Reasearch, told the media.
“It is the party bosses primarily who do not want to cede any ground to women. For the reason that if the bill ever comes into effect, they will have to give up their share of the pie,” she said.
Kumari also pointed out that according to a content analysis, women candidates enjoy comparatively less freedom to speak and raise questions in Parliament.
The Women Reservation Bill, which calls for the reservation of 33 per cent of seats in the Lok Sabha for women, was passed in the Rajya Sabha in March 2010. But since then the bill has met with a political impasse.
For the bill to come into effect, apart from being passed into a law by both the houses and be ratified by the President, it has to be cleared by at least half of the state legislatures.
The members contended that since the Congress has historically been “supportive” of the bill, the government of the day should not be facing any hindrance to get the draft legislation passed in Parliament.
Data shows that there are only 96 women representative in both the houses of Parliament. It ranks 103rd in the Women in Parliament study.
In the Lok Sabha, out of 543 members, only 65 are women, while in the Rajya Sabha the number of women is only 31 in a house of 243, a statement issued by the alliance said.