July 25, 2024

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The Indian Parliament approves a historic bill to reserve a third of the seats reserved for women

The Indian Parliament approves a historic bill to reserve a third of the seats reserved for women



CNN

The Indian Parliament passed a historic bill Thursday that will reserve a third of its seats in the lower house and state assemblies for women, in a major win for rights groups that have been fighting for decades for better gender representation in politics.

A total of 215 lawmakers from the upper house voted in favor of the bill, which was introduced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government in a special parliamentary session on Tuesday. The House of Representatives approved it on Wednesday.

“A historic moment in our country’s democratic journey!” Modi wrote on Twitter after approving it. “With the passage of this bill, the representation of women’s power will be strengthened and a new era of women’s empowerment will begin.”

Six attempts to pass the bill, which was first introduced in 1996, have failed, sometimes due to strong opposition from some lawmakers.

In India, the world’s largest democracy with a population of 1.4 billion, women make up nearly half of the country’s 950 million registered voters, but they make up only 15% of lawmakers in Parliament and 10% in state assemblies.

Although the vote has been approved, implementation of the quota could take years because it depends on the redrawing of electoral districts, which will happen after the completion of the once-a-decade population census in India.

This massive census project was supposed to be implemented in 2021, but it was delayed due to the Corona virus pandemic, and has since been halted.

However, the passage of the bill in Parliament will be seen as another boost for Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party ahead of next year’s national elections.

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Although India has made progress on women’s issues in recent years, it remains a largely patriarchal country, with some of the weakest rates of women’s participation in politics.

Since its independence in 1947, it has had one female prime minister. India Gandhi served as the country’s leader twice before her assassination in 1984.

The current President of India, Draupadi Murmu, who was appointed to this position last year, became the second woman to hold this position.