What's the article about?
- It talks about why women's reservation bill is a positive step to ensure gender equality.
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- The 17th edition of the Global Gender Gap Report of the World Economic Forum has concluded that at the current rate of progress, it will take 131 years to close the global gender gap; it is 149 years in populous South Asian countries including India.
- Reservation is the most effective form of affirmative action and equity is the first step to equality.
- Reservation and Gender Equality:
- Reservation is the most effective form of affirmative action and equity is the first step to equality. That it leads to inefficiency or incompetency is simply making excuses for not rendering tightly guarded spaces to ousted classes.
- We must understand that women are not inferior to men. Incompetencies, even if they arise, are short term, and are removed soon after opportunity for skill building is made available.
- The basic premise of advocates against reservation is that it will bring down competence. Alas, this is a completely misplaced notion as statistics show that women perform much better than men in academics, more women graduate from colleges than men, and more women enter the workforce than men.
- In contrast to this trend, the number of women sharply spirals downwards in leadership positions not because of their incompetence, but because of the hegemony of men.
- Women's Reservation Bill:
- The inauguration of parliamentary business in September 2023 in the new Parliament building also gave a fresh start to the aspirations of Indian citizens with the passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill.
- After much delay, the Constitution (One Hundred Twenty-Eighth Amendment) Bill, 2023, popularly known as the Women’s Reservation Bill, 2023 became a rare piece of legislation in independent India to be cleared overwhelmingly by both Houses.
- It is indeed a ground-breaking event. While India’s founding fathers ensured that India was early to adopt universal adult suffrage, the role of women in shaping the country’s political future still remains minimal.
- Leadership Roles and Gender Equality:
- Historical evidence points out that but for a few Taleb’s black swans, all women who have assumed leadership roles did not get there by sheer industry, competence and intelligence.
- They were allowed only for the convenience of men who were disqualified from assuming these positions, or, if it served some political agenda.
- In the Indian political arena women leaders were, most often, convenient choices. Their initial acceptance was the perception that they could be conveniently removed, but their inherent acumen belied those designs.
- Historical evidence also shows that most women who make it to leadership positions have a mix of privileges — of higher education, the support of influential mentors or families, or belong to upper classes or castes. Despite these privileges, women also take longer to assume leadership positions.
- Challenges to Gender Equality:
- The biggest block is the regressive views on gender equality held by men and women. This has been seen even in otherwise progressive men as seen when C. Rajagopalachari opposed Radhabai Subbarayan’s choice to fight from a general seat.
- A prominent political leader’s accusation in Parliament in 2010, that the previous avatar of the women’s reservation Bill would only champion the cause of educated, urban and elite women, failed to recognise that the core objective of the Bill was to create space for women who did not have the good fortune of belonging to privileged and elite classes.
- The Women's Reservation Bill is a step towards actualizing gender parity. Reservation is the most effective form of affirmative action and equity is the first step to equality. It is time to quickly set right historical wrongs. Women want change. Society needs change. And there is no reason why it should be late.
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