being brown

Restive reservations

I am always surprised when like- minded men turn hostile at the mention of the Women’s Reservation Bill. Indeed more than once, I have been subjected to some abusive tirade on the subject from extremely pale male members of the human species, their bodies writhing in anger, telling me how irrational such a bill, were it to pass, will be. Rationally, ofcourse, reservation of seats does not give credence to merit; it divides an already divided society. Irrationally, ofcourse, women persist in believing that women have had a raw deal in the past and need to feel represented in the public sphere. Irrationally, also, women believe that the raw deal they have had in the past actually has a bearing on what their life is today.

We don’t need women in parliament because they are ‘better’ or ‘more peaceful’ or ‘more nurturing’ than men. Women and men are equal, in that there are just as many bad men as there are bad women and just as many belligerent women as there are belligerent men.

We don’t need women in parliament because they can take up issues of female reproductive rights or other such ‘female’ oriented issues. Any man with some imagination ( that’s what we mean when we ask for a visionary leader btw) and with some inputs others he interacts with ( who, ideally, should be represented by both genders) should be able to think up issues that concern the female. That is the beauty of democracy. You don’t HAVE to take unilateral decisions. So why do we need women to raise ‘female’ issues.

We do need women in parliament, however, because nearly 50% of the population is female and the abysmal 8.2% in parliament can hardly be a democratic results. Such results can only mean two things, 1. That women are just not as good as men or 2. They, obviously, have constraints and cannot seem to be able to appear and sustain an appearance in the public sphere.

We do need women in parliament, as a friend put it, because they bring to the table their different experiences. And that definitely makes the democratic processes rich and meaningful.

Women do need women in parliament to assert their rights on the ‘male’ issues. they should be allowed to bring their experiences to the ‘male’ issues like defense of the country or the finances.

This should be enough reason to support the Women’s Reservation Bill. And yes, it may mean that we just replace unscrupulous, rich, power crazy men with unscrupulous, rich, power crazy women. If the chances of one of these parliamentarians emerging a good administrator or leader is slim, we would have just increased the chances, assuming good administrators are equally distributed across the genders.

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3 responses

  1. Anon (somewhat thymes with -- )

    Excellent start to what promises to be a fun blog. Keep the intelligent thoughts coming.

    June 20, 2009 at 5:16 pm

  2. Nitin

    I also think
    We need “People living on less than $2 per day” ( lets call them PLOLT$2D) in parliament, because nearly 75.6% of the population is PLOLT$2D (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_percentage_of_population_living_in_poverty ) and the abysmal 0% in parliament can hardly be a democratic result. Such results can only mean two things, 1. That PLOLT$2D are just not as good as others or 2. They, obviously, have constraints and cannot seem to be able to appear and sustain an appearance in the public sphere.
    We do need PLOLT$2D in parliament, as a friend put it, because they bring to the table their different experiences. And that definitely makes the democratic processes rich and meaningful.
    We do need PLOLT$2D in parliament to assert their rights on the ‘non- PLOLT$2D’ issues. they should be allowed to bring their experiences to the ‘non- PLOLT$2D’ issues like Fringe Benefit Tax or Tax exemption for IT industry.
    This should be enough reason to support PLOLT$2D Reservation.
    Disclaimer: I have nothing against PLOLT$2D. I Love women. I have issues with Reservation on any level (at least until the country finds a category to reserve some benefits for me too).
    As an aside – If men and women are equal. It just means that bad people (men/women) are distributed equally throughout the population. So the probability of picking a bad administrator will remain the same irrespective of whether I pick from a sample of men, women or both.

    June 20, 2009 at 6:37 pm

  3. Rene Lacoste

    A zero-reservation (and affirmative action and whichever other forms this thing takes) system would give rise to a majoritarian democracy and we would become like Sri Lanka. Clearly, it would be more “just” to have minority representation in parliament as well.

    But how does it bode for the ultimate aim of a government? More viewpoints versus lesser effectiveness (given the lack of “merit”). We would go wide in terms of sections of society covered but would fall behind in terms of the number of people served.

    Utility-wise it is a loser. But then, we’ve done it in the past with SCs and STs and, as much as we’d hate to admit it, it has been effective. Women constitute a “depressed” section as well. So why not extend the same privileges to them as well?

    October 16, 2010 at 6:57 am

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