6 Reasons why the women’s reservation bill is a step backwards


Women’s reservation bill; The much hyped answer to all problems of equality that women have faced in governance.

It has been doing the rounds for 13 years, and finally it is set to become a law. The UPA Government wants to pass it by March 8th – as a gift to the country on Internal women’s day. and with the Left and the BJP backing it too. It is all set to soon become reality.

The Bill proposes to have 33% reserved seats for women in parliament. So, what’s wrong with it? Here is what’s wrong:
1. A new Inequality cant balance out the old one: Think of this as a two teams who are in possession of one side each of a weighing balance. The process starts with one side winning heavily i.e. its very heavy on their side. So, the other team starts uploading weights on their side, this process continues. Sensing that the other team will take away their edge, they too start pilling stones. In the end both teams are pilling stones but the balance is not achieved.
All, that I am trying to say is that it would make more sense if we work towards removing the already existent inequality, rather than create a new one in the hope that it will balance the first one.

2. Why should we vote for someone just coz for being a woman? : Why should I, as a citizen vote for a contestant just coz she is a woman? Like what happened in the case of Pratibha Patil’s Presidential vote. What other credentials does she have other than just being a woman? In what way can she beat Dr. Kalam?

3. There is no such thing as a short-term or temporary quota: The SC/ST/OBC Quota was supposed to be there only for the first 15 years too. Then, why is it still there? Simple. If the people in parliament are elected based on their caste and not merit, why would they ever want to not win again and scarp the only reason they got elected? I don’t see a reason why this wouldn’t happen in the case of women’s reservation.

4. Women seeking equality with men lack ambition: I don’t think that woman need a quota to assert themselves. Even if there is a quota, it is only going to serve the rich and powerful who will rule through their wives. The problem today is how politics is going out of reach the common people(both men and women). And no quota can solve that issue

5. Where would my right to equality go?: Lets assume a scenario where my constituency is in a pathetic state and I want to change it. so, I want to stand for election? But I wont be able to do it. Why? coz the seat is reserved for women. Is this justified? Doing Injustice to men, is not equal to doing justice for woman, is it?

6. It doesn’t matter how the world sees you, what matters is how you see yourself: And by declaring that women are not capable enough to win seats in the real environment, you are not earning respect but just pity. Is this empowering women?

I support woman empowerment, and will continue to do so. I just don’t think quotas are a way of solving problems of inequalities. coz,

“Handing out alms to a beggar doesn’t teach him how to earn his bread, but the day you don’t. he will go hungry today, but starts working from tomorrow”

I don’t think women need a stupid quota to prove their worth. and if you think you do, I would say be a bit more ambitious. coz it is nothing more than a declaration that you are no good on your own and that is why you need a special environment to be successful

“To be a feminist is to acknowledge that one’s life has been regressed. The demand for granting preferential treatment to women is an admission on her part of her inferiority and there has been no need for such a thing in India as the women have always been by the side of men in Council and in the fields of battle…. We must have no mutual conflict in our homes or abroad. We must transcend differences. We must rise above nationalism, above religion, above sex.”
– Sarojini Naidu
(at the Fourth session of All India Women’s Conference, Bombay, 1930)

Post-Read: I found this initiative called True Equity Network and they are also working on the same lines. Here is there page True Equity Network

  • Kant Shah

    Dear Aditya,

    Thank you for discussing this topic. More often then not policymakers do not discuss topics in public and hence we feel burdened by their dikats. My views on reservation were as strong as yours especially at your tender age of 18! I had just passed out HSC and to get into medicine I was much better off being a reserved category. I had ample of personal experiences of people I knew who had got more than double the rank number but still got in ahead of me. Worse still there were ones who had forged their ‘category’ and suddenly after years of polished lifestyle and openly known status, suddenly became ‘scheduled caste’. That too in the middle of the admission process! But at the time I thought – each to his own – I cannot complain for others have more. I hope I get what I deserve. But to recount personal experiences would be to digress from the point.

    What I have realised later is that actually there are loads of people who benefit from reservations. Living in a large city (Mumbai for me) we easily overlook this in our zealous aptitude to serve the country, seek fairness, strive for excellence.

    The fact is that the poor and the backward communities make the majority of India. I would be much rather be represented by them as it is them whom I belong to. Not just the savvy & metropolitan & opportunistic. Even Gandhiji failed to bring about a radical change in our attitude towards our inner self. Our own countrymen. To date if we see someone from a village we automatically think we are better. We are doing more for the country. We are carrying it forward while the villagers are dragging it back with both hands. Partisan politics and caste based vote banking has truly alienated us from our own.

    I am very much against reservation for all the reasons that you rightly put forth. But as Indians this might be the only saving grace we have to jump high up and create a wide bearing social reform at a fast pace. In our selves we may not have the gumption to give women their rightful status for another few centuries. So too for the poor and backward. But such narrow minded petty politics (which I am sure is the motive behind most of such reservations etc) we may actually benefit in the near short future. I only hope that when we have ridden ourselves of such innate reservations in our minds, and we are so used to seeing women at workplace, villagers in high positions there will be a strong drive to stop al reservations as equality should prevail.

    For now I do not mind reservations (quite some may be even unfair) as much as I used to in the hope that India as a nation will benefit.

    I hope I have not provoked a fury in your mind (as I might have in a younger me) to think that my sense of nationalism is misplaced. After all the only legacy we can leave is of a free, fair and united India.

    • http://www.adityakumarnayak.com Aditya Kumar Nayak

      Thanks a lot for sharing your experiences. I can understand your point of view.

      Qouta may be good in the short run, although I dont entirely agree. But the problem is that there isn’t anyway that it will be removed in 10 or 15 years, and then it would be too late to take it off.
      If we concede today for just a little gain which can also be achieved by other means, we will be doing some irreparable damage to ourselves and our future

  • Kant Shah

    Dear Aditya,

    Thank you for discussing this topic. More often then not policymakers do not discuss topics in public and hence we feel burdened by their dikats. My views on reservation were as strong as yours especially at your tender age of 18! I had just passed out HSC and to get into medicine I was much better off being a reserved category. I had ample of personal experiences of people I knew who had got more than double the rank number but still got in ahead of me. Worse still there were ones who had forged their 'category' and suddenly after years of polished lifestyle and openly known status, suddenly became 'scheduled caste'. That too in the middle of the admission process! But at the time I thought – each to his own – I cannot complain for others have more. I hope I get what I deserve. But to recount personal experiences would be to digress from the point.

    What I have realised later is that actually there are loads of people who benefit from reservations. Living in a large city (Mumbai for me) we easily overlook this in our zealous aptitude to serve the country, seek fairness, strive for excellence.

    The fact is that the poor and the backward communities make the majority of India. I would be much rather be represented by them as it is them whom I belong to. Not just the savvy & metropolitan & opportunistic. Even Gandhiji failed to bring about a radical change in our attitude towards our inner self. Our own countrymen. To date if we see someone from a village we automatically think we are better. We are doing more for the country. We are carrying it forward while the villagers are dragging it back with both hands. Partisan politics and caste based vote banking has truly alienated us from our own.

    I am very much against reservation for all the reasons that you rightly put forth. But as Indians this might be the only saving grace we have to jump high up and create a wide bearing social reform at a fast pace. In our selves we may not have the gumption to give women their rightful status for another few centuries. So too for the poor and backward. But such narrow minded petty politics (which I am sure is the motive behind most of such reservations etc) we may actually benefit in the near short future. I only hope that when we have ridden ourselves of such innate reservations in our minds, and we are so used to seeing women at workplace, villagers in high positions there will be a strong drive to stop al reservations as equality should prevail.

    For now I do not mind reservations (quite some may be even unfair) as much as I used to in the hope that India as a nation will benefit.

    I hope I have not provoked a fury in your mind (as I might have in a younger me) to think that my sense of nationalism is misplaced. After all the only legacy we can leave is of a free, fair and united India.

  • Aditya Kumar Nayak

    Thanks a lot for sharing your experiences. I can understand your point of view.

    Qouta may be good in the short run, although I dont entirely agree. But the problem is that there isn't anyway that it will be removed in 10 or 15 years, and then it would be too late to take it off.
    If we concede today for just a little gain which can also be achieved by other means, we will be doing some irreparable damage to ourselves and our future

  • Vignesh Babu

    The issue of women empowerment is getting over-sensitive and this makes the real meaning of equality being side-lined. Your point on “Doing injustice to men” is spot on. I’ve been having the same thoughts albeit not being able to put into words in the fear being chastised as being a chauvinist and an oppressor.
    BESIDES MOST PEOPLE ARE OVERLOOKING THE FACT THAT WOMEN CAN ONLY STAND OUT AND OVERCOME WHEN THEY STOP PLAYING THE VICTIM ROLE AND TAKE CHARGE. The only thing that needs to change is the perception that men have on women but I see that is already changing as more women are being vocal about the “why not women?” thing. This on-going change is heavily attributed to mind shift in today’s fathers which percolates to the entire family and even friends and relatives. I think today’s gender inequalities are comparatively more in the rural side of our country as there is no one to assert that women are in fact equal human beings and not just child bearers. For this the reservation for women in local bodies is a move in the right direction.
    Then again in the end EVERYTHING WILL BE/WOULD’VE BEEN FINE IF ONLY EVERYONE RESPECTS EVERYONE’S INDIVIDUALITY AND NOT BASE RESPECT ON CASTE,RACE,SEX ETC..,

  • KHEM CHAND JAIN

    Aditya, I agree with you. Women reservation will bring gender discrimination. There cannot be women reservation in a country like India where more than 50% rape cases are fake.