Sonia Gandhi wrote to the PM requesting him to take advantage of his party’s majority in the Lower House and pass the Womens Reservation Bill.
Womens Reservation Bill
Congress president Sonia Gandhi has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, requesting him to make use of the NDA’s majority in the Lok Sabha to pass the long-pending womens reservation bill and assuring him of Congress’ support to the legislation. The Rajya Sabha had, in 2010, passed the Womens Reservation Bill, which was then sent back to the Lok Sabha.
According to data by PRS Legislative, of the 543 MPs elected, a mere 62 are women. However, this is the highest number of women MPs elected to the Lok Sabha ever. In the 15th Lok Sabha (2009 general elections) 58 women were elected to the Lower House.
Here is the exact letter to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi:
Mahila Congress president Sushmita Dev backed up Gandhi by leading a pack of party’s women leaders to address a press conference to demand passage of the bill while recalling Congress’ commitment to the cause of women.
The PM’s party and its allies have an easy majority in the Lok Sabha.
Women politicians have pointed out that male MPs are against the proposal. Women hold only about 10 percent of the seats in the two houses of Parliament combined. According to the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), that’s half the global average of 21.4 percent.
The proposal has the potential to become one of the most empowering laws for women in India, activists say. Gender equality in Parliament would empower women in general, they say. A stronger women’s voice at the top would have a trickle-down effect, leading to the development of policies and laws that would help women at the grassroots level fight abuse, discrimination, and inequality.
Despite nearly two decades of protests, rallies, demonstrations and hunger strikes by the women’s rights movement in India for more seats in the legislature, male lawmakers have stubbornly blocked the current bill, fearing – activists say – that it threatens their own political power.
The Women’s Reservation Bill or the Constitution (108th Amendment) Bill, 2008, had sought to reserve one-third of all seats in the Lok Sabha and legislative assemblies for women.