20 Years of Women’s Reservation Bill – Failure to turn women’s bill into law ‘unbelievable’


Posted  in UCANIndia, on September 15, 2016


The 1997 bill proposed to reserve 33 per cent of seats in parliament and state legislatures for women.


(James kottoorNote:  “Hurry up slowly!” (Festina lente) goes a Latin adage. Is the Indian democracy giving a global exhibition of that maxim by sitting over a bill that is central to the practice of democracy for nearly twenty years? Already in 1997 the bill had set aside one-third of seats in parliament and state legislatures for women. Has it made any progress ever since? 

If not, wasn’t  that decision itself of the parliament a great aberration? A monstrous failure on the part of our politicians to wake up to the realization that women constitute half of humanity? Isn’t that so even in India? If so what should have been  the  actual representation women should have got in the Indian Parliament? Just one-third of seats or 50 percent? Equality is central to the concept of Democracy. By refusing to give 50 % seats to women are not our parliamentarians proclaiming that they don’t believe in democracy even in principle? That they don’t believe in the equality of men and women?

                     All the same congratulations to Sr.Talisha Nadukudiyil,  Secretary of the Indian Catholic bishop's Office for Women for saying "Unless the patriarchal mindset of people changes, I'm afraid things will stay the same," in this country. But what about the state of affairs in the Catholic Church which she represents? Is it not much worse? What is the representation of women in the administrative set up of the Church at all levels – from the bottom parish level to the Papal Council?

                     At the second Vatican Council Pope Paul VI famously and rhetorically asked: “Where is half of humanity?” referring to the absence of women among the august assembly of Cardinals and bishops. When will there be a woman Cardinal? Bishop?  Priest? Nay even a Deacon in the Catholic Church?  How many women with voting rights were there in the two Vatican Family Synods of 2014 and 2915? NONE! Can you dream of a family without a woman? Therefore is not the Catholic Church the  best example of inequality and Patriarchal mindset in the whole world?

                    Therefore, the time has come when no one in the world  will ever believe what the Catholic clerical class pontificates from their heavenly pulpits. “Doctor heal yourself first,” we have to tell all church representatives, including the Secretary of the Indian Catholic bishop's Office for Women, because anyone from the Catholic Church is the least competent person to speak for the equal rights for women in society,  in the church or especially in Politics. It  would be like bald heads preaching about, how to  grow hair. james kottoor, editor).


New Delhi: Activists say that the Indian parliament's failure to make a 1997 bill — that reserves parliamentary seats for women — into a law is evidence that women are still not treated with equality or respect in the country.

                  Some 200 women from 27 organizations gathered in New Delhi on Sept. 14 to commemorate the 19th anniversary of the Women's Reservation Bill that set aside a third of the seats in parliament and state legislatures for women.

                 "It's really unbelievable that even after nearly 20 years the bill is still waiting to see the light," said Sister Talisha Nadukudiyil, Secretary of the Indian Catholic bishop's Office for Women. "Unless the patriarchal mindset of people changes, I'm afraid things will stay the same," said the nun from the Sisters of the Destitute congregation.

                        The one-day program remembering years of women's struggle in India.                                       
                   The women's bill was discussed several times in parliament but failed to get the consensus needed to pass. Successive governments have re-introduced it to show their interest in gender equality

                  "The bill seems to have completely disappeared from the agenda of the present government," said Jyotsna Chatterjee, director of the Joint Women's Program of the Church of North India

                  Chatterjee, who has been working to achieve equal rights for women, said that the review of women's status carried out by national and international agencies have repeatedly stressed the importance of their political participation to facilitate equitable development

                 The Hindu nationalist government that came to power in May 2014 "has not moved on this front at all. And 23 months and five parliament sessions later, the reality is that this issue has never figured in parliament," she said

                  Charity Sister Mary Scaria, a Supreme Court lawyer, said a change in the law some three decades ago reserved seats for women in the elected bodies of villages, small towns and cities. "It was welcome step to empower women," she said.

                 "Women of India are still struggling to secure the same in parliament and state legislatures. At the moment females only account for 10 percent or less of the total number of house members," Sister Scaria said. 















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