In a significant move during the ongoing special session of Parliament, the Women’s Reservation Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha. This legislation aims to allocate 33 percent of seats in both the Lok Sabha and state assemblies to women. However, this development has not gone unnoticed by several prominent political leaders, including Mayawati, Akhilesh Yadav, Chandra Shekhar Aazad, and Prakash Ambedkar, who have all raised their voices in favor of a more intersectional approach to implementing the bill.
Chandra Shekhar Aazad, the leader of the Aazad Samaj Party, expressed his viewpoint on Twitter, emphasizing the importance of empowering women from diverse categories. He suggested that to truly empower women from Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST), and Other Backward Classes (OBC), the government should extend the reservation of seats to these groups in all legislative bodies, including Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, Legislative Assemblies, and Legislative Councils. He emphasized that without this comprehensive implementation, democracy may fall short of its goal of representing and empowering women from these marginalized categories.
Similarly, Akhilesh Yadav, the president of the Samajwadi Party, stressed the need for a balanced approach to women’s reservation, one that considers both gender justice and social justice. He called for clear and specific percentages of reservation for backward, Dalit, minority, and tribal women within the 33 percent reserved seats.
Mayawati, the leader of the Bahujan Samaj Party, echoed this sentiment during a recent press address. She emphasized the importance of ensuring that women from OBC backgrounds hold a significant percentage of the reserved seats within the proposed 33 percent quota.
Dimple Yadav, another advocate for OBC women’s representation, also supported this cause. She advocated for a substantial allocation of seats within the 33 percent quota for women to women from OBC communities.
More voices in support of intersectional approach:
Prakash Ambedkar welcomed the existence of a reservation bill for women but raised several critical questions in a recent statement. He pointed out that the bill does not address the political inclusion of OBC women in Parliament and Legislative Assemblies. He also highlighted the absence of clarity regarding the status of women from Legislative Assemblies in Union Territories concerning reservations. Furthermore, Ambedkar inquired about the applicability of the bill to Jammu and Kashmir. He questioned whether it was considered a part of India under this legislation.
As the Women’s Reservation Bill takes center stage in Parliament, these voices from various political quarters underscore the importance of considering a more comprehensive and inclusive approach to empower women across different sections of society. The debates surrounding this bill are sure to continue as lawmakers seek to strike a balance between gender equality and social justice.