New Delhi: India’s Women’s Reservation Bill, tabled in Parliament on Tuesday, addresses a pressing need to enhance gender diversity in politics. Currently, India ranks 141st out of 185 countries in terms of the percentage of women in its Lok Sabha, with only 15% representation. This figure not only falls below the global average but also lags behind neighbouring countries like Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Nepal.
According to data from the Inter-Parliamentary Union, a global organization of national parliaments, India’s lower house of Parliament has a mere 15% female representation, significantly lower than the global average of 26%. This data considers both bicameral and unicameral legislatures.
Comparatively, Pakistan has made strides in women’s reservation since 1956, currently standing at 20% representation in its National Assembly. Bangladesh, with a unicameral legislature, reserves 50 out of 350 seats for women, resulting in a 21% female representation.
Nepal boasts a 33.09% female representation, surpassing India, but this figure aligns closely with the one-third reservation established in 2007 for women in the House of Representatives.
In contrast, countries like the United States and the United Kingdom exhibit 29% and 35% female representation, respectively. Interestingly, some nations with lower female representation than India include Sri Lanka (5%), Qatar (4%), Oman (2%), and Kuwait (3%).
Remarkably, New Zealand and the United Arab Emirates lead with equal gender representation at 50%. However, Rwanda tops the list with a remarkable 61% of female representatives in its lower house.
The Women’s Reservation Bill, introduced by Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal, proposes a 33% reservation for women in the Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies. Notably, the Rajya Sabha currently has approximately 14% female representation, according to government data shared last year.