There is a strong dividing line between symbolic actions and just plain tokenism. Prime Minister’s suggestion that only women members of parliament should speak on March 8, International Women’s Day, would fall in the latter category. Tokenism at its worst. Are you serious, Mr Modi? As far as women’s representation in Parliament is concerned, among 141 selected countries, India ranks a low 103. India at just 12 per cent women in the Lok Sabha is way below the global average of 22.4 percent. Just to remind you, the Women’s Reservation Bill has been long pending.
Six years ago, the Rajya Sabha adopted the Bill. It was listed to be passed on March 8, but because of the various obstructive methods used by the opponents, it could be adopted only on March 9, 2010. It took a great deal of pressure from women’s movements, backed by the firm stand taken by the Left parties, to overcome the opposition. Rajya Sabha Chairman Dr Hamid Ansari, refused to bow to pressure.