A group of women's organisations on Tuesday expressed concern over the delay in the passage of the Women's Reservation Bill and urged the government to pass it in the winter session of the Parliament.
The Parliament's winter session will commence on December 11.
In a statement, the National Alliance for Women's Organisations (NAWO), comprising over 100 women's rights groups, said the marginal representation of women in Parliament and legislative assemblies is a matter of grave concern.
Women from different states, who participated in the event, said passing the bill would pave the way for more women to come to the forefront.
Our political leaders have a patriarchal mindset when it comes to addressing women's issues in the country. Even though India records very high cases of violence against women and faces marginalisation of women in every sphere of society, they ignore their concern and hardly make any effort to address it at the level of decision-making. We urge them to pass the bill and send a clear message to the women of India that they care, said Dr Ranjana Kumari, director of Centre for Social Research which is part of NAWO.
The 22-year-old bill has been impeded in each of its outings in Parliament, before it was passed by the Rajya Sabha in 2010. At the time, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) along with the Samajwadi Party had opposed it. It was developed in order to facilitate women's political participation by reserving 33 per cent of all seats in the Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies for women.
The Lok Sabha has never voted on the bill and it lapsed after the dissolution of the 15th Lok Sabha in 2014.
Politics is a full-time job and very difficult for women and men both, she said, adding support from family members and political parties is necessary.
"There is need to invest in the women leaders from within the parties. Women as voters need to create a vote bank and think on gender issues. Voters to be sensitised to create a vote bank to work on women issues such as crime against women and work on gender issues," said Mukherjee.
Nirbhaya's mother, Asha Devi, was also one of the speakers at the event and asked everyone to work together to ensure that the bill is passed.
Data shows that there are only 65 women parliamentarians in Lok Sabha out of the total number of 543, with women's representation at 11.8 per cent. Rajya Sabha fares marginally better, with 31 women parliamentarian out of a total of 243 MPs with a representation of 12.7 per cent.
As per the latest study on women in Parliament, India ranks 103rd among other countries in terms of representation.
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