A third of parliamentary seats are now reserved for women

A victory after several failures in recent decades. The lower house of the Indian Parliament approved the bill this Wednesday that sets aside a third of parliamentary seats for women.

The bill was passed almost unanimously with only two votes against. According to government data, out of 788 Indian MPs since the last national election, only 104 are women, or just over 13%.

These figures reflect a general underrepresentation of women in Indian public life. According to government data, almost a third of India's workforce last year was made up of working-age women. Thanks to the broad political support that the project enjoys, entry into the upper house is virtually guaranteed. Then it requires the approval of half of India's 28 states.

Several other Asian countries apply quota policies

The quota cannot be applied until India's electoral districts are redrawn following the massive census of 1.4 billion people. The event planned for 2021 had to be postponed indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic. The bill was first introduced in 1996, but unlike any of the six attempts to pass it since then, it failed to achieve a majority of votes in Parliament. Over the years, the bill has faced strong opposition from some political parties in the north of the country.

The world's largest democracy was the second country in the world to appoint a woman as prime minister, Indira Gandhi, in 1966, six years after Sri Lanka's Sirimavo Bandaranaike, but the current proportion of female lawmakers is among the lowest in the world. Asia. Several Asian countries have laws setting quotas for women in parliament, including India's neighbors Nepal and Bangladesh.