8th March 2010
My strong opposition to the Women’s Reservation Bill
Today is Womens' Day. I applaud the work done to bring liberty to women, commencing perhaps from the work of J.S. Mill. I have written extensively on this subject in the draft manuscript, "Discovery of Freedom" (http://discovery.sabhlokcity.com/) and won't write much about it here.
However, I chanced upon the following extract from my book, Breaking Free of Nehru and I think this short paragraph ought to be highlighted to emphasise that this Bill is ANTI-FREEDOM. Reservations of any sort are NOT the way to freedom. It is a shame that there are no proponents of freedom left in India.
There is another problem brewing on the horizon. In addition to caste-based affirmative action, gender-based affirmative action is gathering momentum, namely, reservation of seats for women in elected bodies. This, once again, is primarily a matter for social reformers to deal with. There can never be any justification for a government to legislate quotas for women. Reservations for women (or any other group) in Parliament or any other elected body goes against equality of opportunity. Sweden doesn’t have any reservation of seats for women, but its political parties have a voluntary norm under which 50 per cent of their candidates are women. As a result, women constitute 45 per cent of Swedish parliamentarians. The way out for India would similarly be for political parties to take the lead and not to have the government do things which are none of its business.