Union Minister Anupriya Patel has said that she is in favour of establishing quotas for women. Having quotas can help women compete and rise to the top levels, she said while addressing the BIMSTEC-SAARC Women’s Economic Forum organised by Assocham.
The Minister of State of Health and Family Welfare said that the government is committed to reserving 33 per cent of seats for women in the state assembly and Parliament. The Women’s Reservation Bill has been pending in the Lok Sabha for almost two decades.
Patel also made the case that companies with women in senior positions tend to grow more. “Research has shown that companies perform better during economic turbulence when they have women on their boards, and communities with women in public offices have greater investment in public goods,” she said at the event.
Empowering women to participate is essential for the economy to become strong, she added.
In the ’90s, India decreed that 30 per cent of seats in municipal bodies would be reserved for women. As a result, women’s participation in municipal elections jumped from 4-5 per cent to around 35 per cent at the grassroots level. But the number of women MPs in the Lok Sabha has grown only 6 per cent in the last 60 years! There are currently 61 female MPs in the Lok Sabha and 28 MPs in the Rajya Sabha.
Spokesperson of the All India Congress Committee, Priyanka Chaturvedi, is also in favour of reservation. At an event held by the US Consulate last year, she said that reservation is a good solution as it helps women take that first step. Further growth will happen with merit, but at least women will be able to break into the system.
Reservation helps with taking the first step. Nepal leads the SAARC nations when it comes to women in politics, and it has a reservation system, she added, while making her point.
However, Prime Minister Modi has so far remained silent about the women’s reservation bill.