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Women seek 33% reservation in jobs, promotions
Even as women are pushing ahead their long-drawn demand of 33 per cent reservation in the Parliament and state assemblies, now they have raised voice for same percentage of reservation for themselves in government jobs and promotions as well.

THE DEMAND for 33 per cent reservation for women has come from the All India Mahila Congress (AIMC), which sought for equal percentage of reservation for themselves in government jobs and promotions. 

Prabha Thakur, MP and president, AIMC, said, “We, Congress-led UPA government, have introduced a Bill in the Parliament, seeking 33 per cent reservation for women in the Parliament and state assemblies. Now, we want 33 per cent reservation for us in government jobs.”

She asserted that for women empowerment, reservation was needed and alleged that women were often ignored at the time of promotions and should be given 33 per cent reservation in the matters of promotions too.

Detailing about the steps taken by her organisation, she said, “We will try to see that all the state Congress committees include the proposal in their election manifestoes.”

While referring to the growing atrocities against women all over the country, Thakur said that it was shameful for state governments and demanded firm action against those involved in crimes against women.

Though the demand for 33 per cent reservation for women in government jobs and promotions is a distant dream, it has to be weighed at different levels and also needs to grow until something concrete is favoured in this regard.

Here it may be mentioned that the condition of women in India has been miserable for years and in the present time, with the development in all spheres of life, crimes against women and their exploitation have increased tremendously exacerbated. In the meantime, the demand for 33 percent reservation to them in government jobs and promotions, as well, can be of great help.

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Rather than taking a judicious and considered approach towards the issue, which normally expected during the legislative process, the current Bill builds on gender stereotypes and makes several deeply flawed assumptions such as: 1. Women only vote for other women – More than 50% of the women exercised their franchise in the General Election of 2004 and elected their representatives, both men and women. 2. Forcing more women on the electorate is women empowerment – Forcing more women in the parliament through undemocratic means will only serve to undermine the legitimacy and efficacy of the elected women representatives. 3. All women are under-privileged - A gross generalization is made that all women are under-privileged, deprived and discriminated. That women are a homogenous group and there are no differences in terms of social status, education, etc. and hence, an across the board reservation system is needed. 4. All men are privileged - Similarly, a gross generalization is made that men are a homogenous group and are all privileged and have a natural advantage over women. 5. Women are advantaged - Assumption is made that women have no natural advantages over men. That society discriminates only women and not men. It does not recognize the natural and societal advantages that women have got in terms of moral superiority, greater faith and sympathy. 6. Reservation is indispensable - The bill does not recognize the fact that there have been many women who made it to high public offices and there have been many women Chief Ministers and a Prime Minister. Right now, we have a woman President. They all assumed office through their own efforts and without any reservation. The bill is based on the false assumption that women need reservation to enter high public offices.
3. It will lead to significant upheavals and instability in Indian polity, with MPs being forced to shuffle constituencies in almost every election. This would lead to an inability to nurture their constituency and further reduce accountability. 4. There are no measures to make sure that the benefits are received by the socially backward and underprivileged women, who really need them. There are no objective criteria to prevent the elite class or “creamy layer” of women from taking undue and unfair advantage of this legislation. 5. This Bill sacrifices merit and experience of seasoned law makers and will further divide the country on gender lines. 6. This bill suggests a rotation system which would be determined by draw of lots, in such a manner that a seat would be reserved only once in a block of three general elections. This is a serious flaw, insofar as it mechanically provides for entry of women members to fill one-third of vacancies in Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabhas. This subverts the democratic process which is all about free choice vis-à-vis a mechanical action/ process. 7. The representation system in parliament and state legislatures is for entire constituencies which include every single person, be they man, woman or child and not just one section of the population within a constituency. In other words, an MP or an MLA is a public servant who represents a constituency and not any group/ section/ portion of his/ her constituency. He/ she is supposed to protect the interests of all in his/ her constituency and not just a particular group/ section/ portion in his or her constituency. This bill is against this concept of representation. The bill implies representation of women. 8. India is a vast country and is multi-cultural, multi-ethic, multi-lingual and with several groups, castes, sub-castes etc. The implementation of this bill would lead to more demands from various groups and sections of society for similar representation and it would be an open invitation for politicization of the representative form of Indian democracy. It will be a death blow to representation through constituencies. 9. The concept of reservation is an insult to women and their capability. This law perpetuates gender discrimination.
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