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Enhancing Women's Political Representation.



  Sep 21, 2023

StudyIndianPolity by SRIRANGAM SRIRAM for a crystal clear understanding of the Constitution.



Introduction

Name: Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Eighth Amendment) Bill, 2023.
Date of Introduction: September 19, 2023.
Objective: To reserve one-third of the total seats in Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies for women.

Key Features of the Bill

Reservation for Women: Approximately one-third of all seats in Lok Sabha, state legislative assemblies, and the Legislative Assembly of the National Capital Territory of Delhi to be reserved for women.
This reservation applies to seats reserved for Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) as well.
 
Commencement of Reservation: The reservation will take effect after the census conducted following the bill's commencement is published.
Delimitation of constituencies will be based on census data to allocate seats for women.
Initially, this reservation will be for 15 years but can be extended through a law passed by Parliament.
 
Rotation of Seats: Seats reserved for women will be rotated after each delimitation exercise, determined by a law enacted by Parliament.

Issues to Consider

Purpose of Reservation: The primary goal of this reservation is to enhance women's representation and influence in the political system, addressing gender-based discrimination.
 
Opponents' Arguments: Critics argue that creating separate constituencies for women might limit their perspective and perpetuate unequal status.
Some believe women should compete on merit alone.
Additionally, broader electoral reforms, like tackling criminalization of politics and improving internal democracy in political parties, have not been adequately addressed.
 
Alternatives to Reservation Two alternative methods for enhancing women's representation:
Reservation for Candidates Within Political Parties: Reserving seats for women candidates within political parties, promoting gender diversity within parties.
 
Dual Member Constituencies:Introducing dual member constituencies where each constituency is represented by both a male and a female candidate.

Pros and Cons of Alternatives

Reservation Within Political Parties
Advantages: Enhances democratic choice, flexibility for parties, empowerment of minority communities, flexible women representation.
Disadvantages: No guaranteed election, potential misplacement, risk of resentment.

Dual Member Constituencies

Advantages: Maintains democratic choice, gender-neutral, constituency focus.
Disadvantages: Women may be perceived as secondary candidates, requirement for gender balance, sharing of political base, complex parliamentary deliberation.

India in the Global Context

India's gender diversity in national legislatures is relatively low compared to other countries (e.g., South Africa, China, Brazil, United States, United Kingdom).
 
Recent efforts to increase women's representation coincide with declining female participation in the economy and domestic violence issues.
This summary provides an organized overview of the 128th Constitution Amendment Bill 2023, its key features, issues, and alternative methods for enhancing women's representation in Indian politics.
Womenomics: Recent efforts to increase women's representation in politics, such as the Narishakti Vandan Adhiniyam introducing 33% reservation for women in legislatures, coincide with concerning trends in female economic participation in India.
 

Low Labor Force Participation

India has the lowest female labor force participation rate among G20 countries, standing at just 24%.
In contrast, countries like Australia, China, and Canada boast labor force participation rates for women above 60%.

Decline in Employed Women

Over the past seven years, the number of employed women in India has fallen significantly, experiencing a one-third decline.
In urban areas, the number of female workers has dropped from 22.7 million to 12 million.
Rural female labor force has also seen a substantial decrease, declining from 45 million to 33 million.

Property Ownership

While there is an increase in female land and house ownership, the figures remain relatively low:
Female land ownership: 42%
Female house ownership: 32%
This summary highlights the term "Womenomics" and sheds light on the challenges associated with low female labor force participation and property ownership in India.
 


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