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Bill to Reserve Seats for Women in India’s Parliament Debated

A parliamentary committee in India debated a bill on Tuesday, proposing that 33 percent of seats in the legislature be reserved for women. According to Thaindian News, the Women’s Reservation Bill is supported by India’s Congress and one of its major political parties. However, passage of the bill has been pending for 12 years.

The Hindu News reports that initially, no women were part of the committee until Brinda Karat, Najma Heptulla, and Jayanti Natarajan were included. The committee has three months to come to a decision about the bill. The next meeting is scheduled for June 4.

Quotas like India’s proposed bill can help increase the number of women in parliament. Countries around the world have introduced quotas to combat cultural barriers that prevent women from running. According to the Global Database for Quotas for Women, India is just one of many countries that have attempted or actually implemented legislation to bring more equality to government. Only 8.1 percent of India’s parliament is women.

Sources:

The Hindu News 05/27/08; Thaindian News 05/27/08; Global Database of Quotas for Women