Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A strife for political space

It tells the story of a struggle in support of a Bill that has been languishing in the corridors of Parliament

Reign She Will: Women's
Strife for Political Space
Ranjana Kumari
Har-Anand Publications
Rs 495
Read in the context of what could arguably be defined as India's popular strife for getting the political masters and Parliament to heed the voice of the people on a legislative measure of urgent public importance — the Lokpal Bill — Reign She Will acquires perspectives that would have been hazy, otherwise. It tells the story of another, and as yet unfruitful, strife — a women's strife — in support of a Bill that has been languishing in the corridors of Parliament interminably, because the lawmakers across the political spectrum continue to remain divided on the specifics of providing a quota for women in Parliament and the State legislatures.

Ranjana Kumari takes us through the tortuous journey of the Women's Reservation Bill, stopping at every milestone to offer insights that span gender relations steeped in cultural and traditional structures and practices of this country.

She starts off by pointing to an ironical situation. Women are holding the country's top official and political posts. Pratibha Patil is the President of India, Meira Kumar, the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Sonia Gandhi, the leader of the Congress party that heads the ruling coalition, and Sushma Swaraj, the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha. Against this heartening fact is the disturbing reality that the total share of women in Parliament has never exceeded 10 per cent. And this is in stark contrast to, and in spite of, the apparent success of the 73rd and 74th Constitution Amendments that earmarked one-third of the seats in urban and rural local bodies for women.

Full report here Hindu

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