I do not like the fact that we have a custom of reservation against female citizens.
In huge parts of India, rich or poor, higher education is reserved for men – even today.
A large number of jobs are reserved for men. Women from all economic backgrounds, do conquer these ‘male bastions’, braving discrimination, sexual harassment, and criticism for neglecting their families.
Inheritance and family name is reserved for men. (Sanjay Dutt’s objection to his sister’s using their family name.)
Family business and family wealth is reserved for men. (Ever heard of the Ambani brothers’ sister?)
The right to self reliance is generally reserved for men.
Fun and freedom is strictly reserved for men. Pubs, parties, good clothes, dancing, drinking and most public spaces are reserved for men.
Picture something as simple as a woman, happily singing or whistling, as she cycles down the road on a rainy day…
After dark, most roads, most streets, most local trains, buses and public spaces are reserved for men. (In some places the government has officially reserved such jobs for men.)
Second chances in life are largely reserved for men.
Sadly even the right to be joyously welcomed into this world is generally reserved for men.
We do not even notice all this reservation, because it passes off as custom, family values and protection. It is difficult to fight this reservation because it is unwritten and mostly unofficial. In fact we do not even acknowledge this reservation.
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Today most women (and a lot of men) in parliament are spouses or relatives of existing politicians. Very few make it to Parliament on their own. Why?
Is it because politics as a profession is not suited for women? Not true.
Is it because traditionally positions of power have been reserved for men? This must be true to some extent. And such an attitude can discourage suitable women candidates. Everybody, including all political families give preference to their male relatives. The prejudice applies everywhere.
Is it because we wonder if there is even a need for women in politics, when men have been managing all along? Our politicians and many of us might feel this way. Remember some of them think women invite rape on themselves.
We do know this lack of participation is not because women are not as capable. Year after year girls have been scoring as well as boys in CBSE/ICSE/HSC. We all know they sometimes have no support at home because many parents consider marriage, not career, a girl’s goal.
So how do women fight against all this reservation?
Do we need to create an environment where equal opportunities are made available? I think we do.
I do not like this reservation by custom and tradition. I prefer a level playing field. And I want some women to represent me in the Parliament.
What will actually happen if Women’s Reservation Bill is passed?
Martin Luther King said he knew discrimination against African Americans would end eventually – but he did not want to wait for it to happen ‘eventually’ – he wanted to work for it and end it now so the next generation could breath free. I feel any step that hastens our slow, very slow movement towards a more just society should be welcomed.
Women’s Reservation Bill de-reserves 181 seats from men, and makes them available to all other equal citizens.
Will that not help in creating a level playing field?
Edited keeping the comments in mind, from an earlier post published on June 9th 2009 – (I do not like Reservation).
Read more posts on International Women’s Day here.