Topic: GS1, GS3 – Indian society, Gender equality
Gender gap in India
- According to the 17th edition of the Global Gender Gap Report of the World Economic Forum, 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.
- 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.
- 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 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 will reserve 33 per cent of all seats in the Lok Sabha and in state legislative assemblies for women.
- This is a ground-breaking event, as 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The deepest cut is that the handful of privileged women who assume leadership are not supportive or empathetic to the aspirations of those women who do not even have access to basic needs such as nutrition, education and financial independence.
- The present Bill is the first step towards actualising gender parity.
- 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.
Question: The Women’s Reservation Bill was passed by the Parliament of India in 2023. Critically examine the need for the Bill, its challenges, and its potential impact on Indian politics.