India backs quotas for women MPs


11:00 am - March 10th 2010

by Sunder Katwala    


      Share on Tumblr

India’s Upper House voted on Tuesday by 186-1 for the Women’s Reservation Bill, which would see one-third of the seats in the Lok Sabha (India’s House of Commons) reserved for women for a period of 15 years.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said:

‘This is a momentous development in the long journey of empowering our women.

‘The bill that is going to be passed today is a historic step forward, a giant step forward in strengthening the process of emancipation (of women),

‘Our women faced discrimination at home, there is domestic violence, they face discrimination in equal access to education, healthcare, there are all these things. All these things have to end if India were to realise its full potential.’

‘What we are going to enact today is a small token of homage to the sacrifices our women have made in nation building, in the freedom struggle, in all other nation building activities.’

There are currently 59 members in the 545-member Lok Sabha. The new rules will set a floor of 181 women MPs. This method of a national quota will see all women constituency contests between the different political parties in chosen constituencies, which may rotate over time.

In the highly unlikely event that Britain were to adopt as radical a gender equality measure as India, the number of women in the House of Commons would rise from the current 126 to at least 216 women MPs.

More information here

    Share on Tumblr   submit to reddit  


About the author
Sunder Katwala is a regular contributor to Liberal Conspiracy. He is the director of British Future, a think-tank addressing identity and integration, migration and opportunity. He was formerly secretary-general of the Fabian Society.
· Other posts by


Story Filed Under: News

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.


Reader comments


Fascinating stuff, what a grand step taken by India.

Yes, and I suppose this makes them much more progressive than us the issue of female representation.

3. inyourhouse

An illiberal, anti-democratic measure. The article mentions the discrimination that women face in areas like healthcare: why not tackle that rather than sacrifice democratic principles?

I wondered how long it would take for that line of attack to some up here, it took longer than I thought, so well done on that.

5. inyourhouse

It is frustrating when people criticize policies on the basis of trivial and unimportant concepts like democracy, isn’t it?

I know one person in India, luckily, she has a blog:

It is bad politics and I will be very shocked if it manages to do any good. Unfortunately, it does look likely to get all the required votes at the central and state level.

I am trying not to rant but really which idiot thought it was actually worth sponsoring? What is it supposed to achieve? How is it supposed to help anything? First, you are increasing the malaise of reservation. Then you are taking away all incentives to nurse constituencies. Then you are reinforcing the notion of women as decorative accessories [grrrrrrrr! graaawh! off with their heads!] who need protection, molly coddling and special treatment [more growling noises]. You have no system in place to screen out bahu-beti puppets. Really! What on earth are you trying to do?

Quotas to ensure Parliament has X amount of people by exclusing people is bad politics that foments resentment and creates tokenism.

Countries that have multi-member seats with a more proportional voting system show much faster progress, and given that this will also solve a lot of other problems, is a much better solution all around.

Well, I knew this angle would come up and it is a valid one but countries are not moving forward as the required speed so that their parliaments are reflective of the country it is supposed to represent.

It is a tough balance but I think this is a good step.

@3

The article mentions the discrimination that women face in areas like healthcare: why not tackle that rather than sacrifice democratic principles?

I’m gonna presume that with more women in the house the discrimination that you (rightly) mention will be focussed on more than at present and hopefully with better results.
Emphasis on “hopefully”.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Jim Jepps

    RT @libcon: India backs quotas for women MPs http://bit.ly/cUcD4p

  2. andrew

    Liberal Conspiracy » India backs quotas for women MPs: India's Upper House voted on Tuesday by 186-1 for the Women… http://bit.ly/aejvCJ

  3. Beth Misenhimer

    Liberal Conspiracy » India backs quotas for women MPs http://bit.ly/a5VYc3

  4. Liberal Conspiracy

    India backs quotas for women MPs http://bit.ly/cUcD4p

  5. The Women’s Reservation Bill – Boon Or Bane? « Rubber Tyres –> Smooth Rides

    […] India backs quotas for women MPs (liberalconspiracy.org) […]





Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.