National Commission for Women (NCW) chairperson Rekha Sharma Friday said that she has ‘reservations’ about the Women’s Reservation Bill as she feels that women should find their own path of success and reservation may only help a select few.
Speaking at a discussion on ‘Political participation and representation of women in India’ organised by the NCW in the national capital, Sharma said, “If you ask me, I have reservations about reservation, actually. It will be difficult for people like me and you to enter politics with the help of reservation. We have to pave our own path… (It will help only) daughters or wife of some politicians.”
Laying emphasis on the need to empower women which constitutes ‘the other 50 per cent of the population’, she said, “How can we grow if 50 per cent of the population is not empowered politically? It is not possible at all. It is the right of women to elect and get elected.”
According to Sharma, many women who have been elected at the panchayat level “have no clue about their work”.
“They do not know how much money the government gives to a panchayat and what it is meant for. In many cases, their husbands, brothers or fathers put stamps on papers and attend meetings on their behalf,” she said.
The NCW chief urged the educated young women who are averse to politics to go beyond writing about social issues on Facebook and join politics, She said: “To bring a significant, important change, you need power and it comes from politics. If you want to make new laws, you have to enter Parliament,” she said. She further added, “You have to get your hands dirty if you want to clean the sewer”.
Her comments come at a time when the clamour to pass the Women’s Reservation Bill in Lok Sabha during the Monsoon Session of Parliament has gained momentum. The bill, which calls for 33 per cent of reservation of seats in the Lok Sabha and all state legislative assemblies for women, has already been passed by the Upper House.