Keystone IAS Academy

REPRESENTATION OF WOMEN IN THE LOK SABHA

WOMEN’S REPRESENTATION IN LOK SABHA:

WHY IN NEWS?

The representation of women in the Lok Sabha has seen varied trends across political parties, with the Trinamool Congress notably increasing its female MPs, despite a slight decrease in overall female representation in the 18th Lok Sabha compared to previous years.

SUMMARY OF NEWS:

The representation of women in the Lok Sabha has seen gradual growth over the decades, reaching 13.6% in the 2024 elections.

The Trinamool Congress notably increased their representation with a high success rate of women candidates in the recent elections.

BJP and Congress maintained their share of women candidates, but BJP saw a decrease in success rate from 2019.

Trinamool’s women MPs constituted 37.9% of their total, significantly higher than other major parties.

Women voters showed varied preferences across states, influencing electoral outcomes differently for parties like BJP, Congress, and Trinamool.

Current Representation:

   As of recent data (2024), women constitute about 14% of the total members in the Lok Sabha.

   Representation of women in Parliament is crucial for achieving gender equality and inclusive governance.

Efforts for Increasing Representation:

  • Women’s Reservation Bill – Proposed to reserve one-third of seats in Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies for women. It has been pending in Parliament for several years due to various reasons, including political opposition and lack of consensus.
  • Electoral Reforms – Some states have implemented reservation for women in local bodies (Panchayati Raj Institutions), which has been successful in increasing women’s participation in grassroots governance.
  • Political Parties’ Initiatives – Some political parties have voluntarily reserved seats or ensured higher nominations for women candidates to promote gender balance.

Challenges:

  • Political Will – Resistance from political parties and leaders to pass the Women’s Reservation Bill due to various political considerations.
  • Socio-cultural Factors – Deep-rooted patriarchal norms and societal perceptions often hinder women from participating actively in politics.
  • Access to Resources – Women candidates often face challenges in accessing resources such as funds, campaign support, and media coverage compared to their male counterparts.

Impact of Increased Representation:

  • Policy Prioritization – Women MPs often advocate for policies related to women’s rights, health, education, and economic empowerment.
  • Role Models – Increased representation inspires more women to participate in politics and leadership roles, contributing to social change.
  • Improved Governance – Studies indicate that gender-balanced legislatures are more likely to address diverse concerns and promote inclusive decision-making.
  • Global Comparisons – India’s representation of women in Parliament lags behind several countries that have implemented quota systems or other affirmative measures to enhance women’s participation in politics.

Way Forward:

  • Passage of Women’s Reservation Bill – Urgent need for consensus-building among political parties to pass the bill.
  • Capacity Building – Enhancing capacity-building programs for women leaders to equip them with skills necessary for effective political participation.
  • Awareness Campaigns – Increasing awareness about the importance of gender diversity in governance and the benefits of women’s representation.

Constitutional Provisions: The Constitution (108th Amendment) Bill, commonly known as the Women’s Reservation Bill, seeks to reserve one-third of all seats in the Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies for women.

PYQ:

Year: 2018 (Prelims)

   Question: Consider the following statements regarding the ‘National Commission for Women’:

  1. It is a constitutional body.
  2. It was established by an act of Parliament.
  3. It enjoys the powers of civil court while investigating cases.

   Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

   – A) 1 only

   – B) 2 and 3 only

   – C) 1 and 3 only

   – D) 1, 2 and 3

   Answer: C) 1 and 3 only

 Explanation: Option 1 is correct as the National Commission for Women is a statutory body, not a constitutional body. Option 2 is incorrect as it was established by an act of Parliament, not by the Constitution. Option 3 is correct as the NCW has powers similar to that of a civil court.

Year: 2016(Mains)

Question: The Women’s Reservation Bill has been a non-starter for the past two decades. Examine the reasons for the failure of this bill and suggest measures needed to address these challenges. (15 marks)

Hint: Here, the answer would involve discussing the reasons for the delay in passing the Women’s Reservation Bill and suggesting measures to overcome these challenges, considering political, social, and administrative aspects.

Year: 2019 (Mains)- Related Question

Question: The participation of women in the Indian workforce is fraught with challenges such as lack of access to employment opportunities, digital divide, familial constraints, etc. Discuss the initiatives and schemes launched by the Government of India to address some of these issues. (15 marks) 

Hint: The answer would require a detailed discussion of various schemes and initiatives launched by the government to promote women’s participation in the workforce, including reservations and policies aimed at economic empowerment.

 

OLD TRADITIONS NEW TIES:

The Ukraine conflict, which began in 2014, is a complex geopolitical issue with significant implications for international relations and global security.

  1. Origins of the Conflict:

   The conflict in Ukraine can be traced back to November 2013 when protests erupted in Kyiv (Kiev), the capital city, against then-President Viktor Yanukovych’s decision to suspend an association agreement with the European Union in favor of closer ties with Russia. These protests, known as the Euromaidan protests, culminated in February 2014 with Yanukovych fleeing Ukraine after deadly clashes between protesters and security forces.

  1. Annexation of Crimea:

    In March 2014, following Yanukovych’s ousting, Russia annexed Crimea, a peninsula historically part of Ukraine but with a majority ethnic Russian population. The annexation was condemned internationally, with the United Nations General Assembly declaring it invalid, and led to sanctions against Russia by the EU and the US.

  1. Conflict in Eastern Ukraine:

   After Crimea’s annexation, pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, particularly in Donetsk and Luhansk regions (collectively known as Donbas), declared independence from Ukraine. The conflict escalated into a full-scale war between Ukrainian government forces and separatist groups, who were allegedly supported by Russia with arms, training, and personnel.

Minsk Agreements:

  • In September 2014 and February 2015, ceasefire agreements known as the Minsk Protocol and Minsk II were signed by Ukraine, Russia, and the separatists under the auspices of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
  • The agreements aimed to establish a ceasefire, withdraw heavy weaponry, exchange prisoners, and facilitate political dialogue towards a peaceful resolution.

Humanitarian Impact:

  • The conflict has had severe humanitarian consequences, with over 13,000 deaths and more than 1.5 million people displaced internally and to neighboring countries.
  • Human rights organizations have reported widespread violations, including civilian casualties, torture, and arbitrary detention.

International Response:

  • The international community, particularly the EU and the US, imposed sanctions on Russia for its involvement in the conflict, its annexation of Crimea, and for violating Ukraine’s sovereignty.
  • Efforts by international organizations such as the OSCE to monitor and mediate the conflict have been ongoing, although progress has been limited.

Geopolitical Implications:

  • The conflict has strained Russia’s relations with Western countries, leading to increased tensions and military build-ups in Eastern Europe.
  • It has also raised concerns about NATO’s role in Europe’s security architecture and the balance of power in the region.

 

NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), established in 1949, is a military alliance comprising 30 member countries from North America and Europe. It operates on the principle of collective defense, where an attack on one member is considered an attack on all, triggering a collective response. NATO conducts military operations, crisis management, and peacekeeping missions globally, adapting to new security challenges post-Cold War. It serves as a cornerstone of transatlantic security cooperation, ensuring stability in Europe and projecting stability beyond its borders through partnerships and political dialogue.

Current Situation and Future Prospects:

Current Status – As of recent updates, intermittent fighting continues in eastern Ukraine despite ceasefire agreements. Efforts by Ukraine, Russia, and international mediators to find a lasting political solution through the Normandy Format (involving Ukraine, Russia, Germany, and France) and other diplomatic channels are ongoing.

Future Prospects – The resolution of the Ukraine conflict remains uncertain, with key issues such as the status of Crimea, the autonomy of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, and Ukraine’s geopolitical alignment unresolved. The conflict’s impact on global security, energy geopolitics (especially concerning natural gas pipelines), and international law will continue to shape discussions and policies in the coming years.

PYQ:

  1. Year: 2016(prelims):

   Question: Which of the following countries are members of the Minsk Group that is mediating a solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict?

     – A) Belarus

     – B) France

     – C) Germany

     – D) Russia

Answer: D) Russia

Explanation: The Minsk Group, co-chaired by France, Russia, and the United States, is primarily involved in mediating the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, not directly the Ukraine conflict. However, understanding international mediation efforts like the Minsk Group can provide context to conflict resolution mechanisms.

Year: 2018 ( Mains):

Question: Discuss the geopolitical implications of the conflict in Ukraine. What role does Ukraine play in the current world order? (150 words)

Hint:

     The conflict in Ukraine has significant geopolitical implications, primarily affecting relations between Russia and Western countries. Russia’s annexation of Crimea and support for separatists in eastern Ukraine have led to sanctions from the EU and the US, exacerbating tensions in European security. Ukraine, situated between Russia and the EU, plays a crucial role in the balance of power in Eastern Europe. Its strategic location and resources, including pipelines for energy transit, make it a key player in European energy security. Furthermore, Ukraine’s aspiration for closer ties with the EU and NATO has challenged Russia’s influence in its “near abroad.” The conflict underscores broader debates on sovereignty, international law, and the post-Cold War world order, where geopolitical interests clash with aspirations for regional stability and integration.