Enacting women's quota bill will send a strong message: UN

Women bill

Commending India for spurring "one of the greatest successes globally" in women's empowerment, Executive Director of UN Women Michelle Bachelet today strongly batted for enacting law giving reservation to women in Parliament.

Referring to the Women's Reservation Bill, she said "the world is waiting to see the outcome" and "if it becomes law, it could potentially lead to one of the most significant changes in India since independence in 1947."

"It will send a strong message to the women of India and it will send a strong message to the world that India is leading the way for democracy, for women and for equality," said Bachelet, a former President of Chile, who is now with UN Women.

Recalling the success of the move to give quota to women in Panchayat institutions, she said, "Just a decade ago, women comprised less than 5 per cent of elected leaders in village councils. Today more than 40 percent of seats in local bodies are occupied by women.

"In India quotas have spurred one of the greatest successes globally in women's empowerment and grassroots democracy," she said.

The senior UN official said that a million and a half women had been elected into the panchayats and were administering public services and resolving disputes on matters ranging from violence against women, to marriage and property.

"This dramatic and rapid change is the result of the reservation, and I commend this achievement. This success holds a lesson for the central government's current effort to extend quotas for women to the national level, and the world is waiting to see the outcome," Bachelet said.

"The Women's Reservation Bill would set aside one-third of the elected seats for women in the lower house of the Parliament and in all legislative assemblies. If it becomes law, it could potentially lead to one of the most significant changes in India since independence in 1947," she said.

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