The need for gender equality and the challenges faced by women in leadership roles. Reading this article will provide insights into the current status of gender equality and the importance of affirmative action for women.
The 17th edition of the Global Gender Gap Report by the World Economic Forum states that it will take 131 years to close the global gender gap at the current rate of progress.
In populous South Asian countries, including India, it will take 149 years to close the gender gap.
Reservation is seen as the most effective form of affirmative action and equity.
Women are not inferior to men, and any incompetencies that may arise are short-term and can be addressed through skill-building opportunities.
The goal is to create a level playing field where gender is irrelevant and does not impact opportunities.
. The notion that reservation will bring down competence is misplaced, as statistics show that women perform better than men in academics and enter the workforce in larger numbers.
The lack of women in leadership positions is due to the hegemony of men, not their incompetence.
The Women's Reservation Bill, also known as the Constitution (One Hundred Twenty-Eighth Amendment) Bill, 2023, was passed by both Houses of Parliament in September 2023.
The passage of the bill is considered a ground-breaking event as it aims to increase the role of women in shaping India's political future.
Despite India adopting universal adult suffrage early on, the representation of women in politics has remained minimal.
Global trends show a decrease in the age of political leaders, raising the question of whether an Indian woman can aspire to become the Prime Minister at a young age.
Women are often appreciated in supportive and emotional roles but are rarely seen in leadership positions.
Ambitious women are often disliked and denigrated by society, as seen in the case of Hillary Clinton in the United States.
Historical evidence suggests that women in leadership roles were often chosen for convenience or political agendas, rather than based on their industry, competence, and intelligence.
Most women in leadership positions have privileges such as higher education, influential mentors, and belonging to upper classes or castes.
Women take longer to assume leadership positions, even with privileges. Indira Gandhi had to wait until 1966 to become Prime Minister, while Rajiv Gandhi was immediately fielded after his mother's assassination.
The question is whether an Indian woman without nepotistic advantages can reach a top leadership position in a timely manner.
Privileged women in leadership positions are not supportive or empathetic to the aspirations of less privileged women.
These privileged women often believe they became leaders solely through their own efforts, ignoring their personal advantages.
Sarojini Naidu and Begum Jahanara Shahnawaz presented a joint manifesto rejecting reservation for women in legislative representation during the Round Table Conference in the 1930s.
Begum Jahanara Shahnawaz and Radhabai Subbarayan advocated for a small percentage of reservation for women.
The biggest hurdle in achieving gender equality is the regressive views held by both men and women.
C. Rajagopalachari opposed Radhabai Subbarayan's choice to fight from a general seat, showing regressive views even in progressive men.
Mulayam Singh and Lalu Prasad Yadav opposed the women's reservation Bill not out of concern for women, but because it would reduce the space for men in elections.
The present Bill is the first step towards achieving gender parity
Implementation of the Bill should be based on a readjustment of seats using the 1991 Census
Delimitation Commission should follow the same process as Scheduled Caste seats
It is time to correct historical wrongs and bring about change for women in society