One step forward on the road to inclusivity

Published on Sep 13, 2022 10:36 PM IST

The UP assembly deciding to reserve a day for women lawmakers to speak on a range of issues is welcome, but beyond ad-hoc measures, long-term remedies are needed.

Women make up around 11% of UP’s lower House, which is somewhat lower than the percentage of women members in the Lok Sabha, 14.6%. (ANI) PREMIUM
Women make up around 11% of UP’s lower House, which is somewhat lower than the percentage of women members in the Lok Sabha, 14.6%. (ANI)
ByHT Editorial

The Uttar Pradesh (UP) assembly has decided to reserve a day for women lawmakers to speak on a range of issues in the upcoming monsoon session. Assembly speaker Satish Mahana told reporters that the decision to earmark a separate day for women members was taken after several of them complained that they had not received an appropriate opportunity to speak during previous sessions. In the short-term, this makes sense. Women lawmakers often find themselves sidelined and outnumbered in legislative assemblies, which suffer from the systemic problems of few sittings and limited scope for debates. Women make up around 11% of UP’s lower House, which is somewhat lower than the percentage of women members in the Lok Sabha, 14.6%. Nevertheless, it is a welcome sign that assembly authorities are taking steps to ensure that more women will be heard on critical issues plaguing the state, and this newspaper hopes that additional measures will be instituted to ensure that female members are able to make their point during every general legislative sitting and are granted an adequate quantum of time to contribute to lawmaking.

But such ad hoc measures will have to give way to long-term remedies that political parties, the Election Commission (EC) and various governments will have to come up with. The time has come to look at whether equal opportunities are accorded to women members once they come through the electoral exercise. The legislative process has not received adequate attention in the debate for expanding women’s representation. For bettering the health of Indian democracy, improving the lawmaking process and ensuring gender equality, this must be made a priority.

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