Mar 10, 2010

Women's Bill: Is the female of the species genetically better

Everything we do, we do in the name of poor, hungry and the marginalised. Internationally and nationally, this is the game that we have played all along. Whether it is the contentious negotiations under the World Trade Organisation, the Kyoto Protocol, the failed Copenhagen Accord and so on, you will always find that the impression given is that it is for the benefit of the poverty stricken.

So when I see the media coverage of the so-called historic passage of the Women's Bill in Rajya Sabha, marking a watershed in India's politics, I am amused. One newspaper, and it sums it all, has a huge banner headline with a half page picture of the poor women, saying: "Herstory"

Certainly, a clever playing around with words.

Somehow the nation is being made to believe, and it would be politically incorrect not to fall in line, that the Women's Reservation Bill is the first step in what could be a long journey to uplift the poor of the lot. Laudable objective, indeed. And as they say, if wishes were horses, beggers would get an easy ride.

I don't know what is your thinking but the fact remains that all these years women have been party (and have been done it solo also) to the games men have played. They have been party to some of the gory crimes, financial embezzlements, sex and sleaze, and you name it. I don't know of any women who has shown the courage to stand up and acknowledge that her husband is corrupt or her father has been indulging in corrupt practices. Or even point a finger to her siblings. They all bask in the sun, and in fact many of them love to make an obscene display of it.

I know of many women who proudly announce in social gatherings how much 'underhand' money her son-in-law makes every month.

I therefore don't think there is any genetic purity in the female genome that makes it holier than thou. Nor do I know of any special gene in the genetic structure of the female that makes it any different (or superior) from the men of the species. They are equally bad.

Over the past few years, women have certainly excelled in several spheres. It is not unusual to be greeted by a female captain for example when you settle down in the aircraft, ready for the take off. It is encouraging to see women in the armed forces, and travelling to the outer space nowadays. They are in the forefront in areas which were prediminantly men's domain. In other words, they are literally on the top.

We have celebrated the emergence of the women power. But equally distressing is one of the historic developments we have seen in the recent past. Women have shed their clothes, using their sexuality as the stepping stone to growth and success. All moral inhibitions have been cast aside (there are honourable exceptions, of course). Women have now increasingly become a commodity, and they have allowed this to happen not for the sake of fellow impoverished women but for their own selfish needs. If this is a sign of empowerment, God save the fairer of the sex. 

I have nothing against women reservation. I don't think it matters whether there are 300-crorepatis or crorepatnis in Parliament. They have only one purpose in mind. How to ensure that their profits swell. Direct intervention in policy planning makes it much easier. Therefore to treat the Women Reservation Bill as a giant leap for womankind is something that I am not ready to accept. To link the passage of the Bill with the underlying hope it has for the impoverished lot, is too far-fetched and deliberate. 

In all fairness, it is another career opportunity for the upwardly mobile and the socialites. It is another opportunity for the wives, sisters and daughters (or daughters-in-law) of the elite. They don't have to depend on the largesse their male partners have collected as people's respresentatives (again, there are honourable exceptions). Women can now do it themselves. And that too, in the name of the impoverished majority.

The rules of the game have not changed. Only the actors have.


Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

So true your analysis is . But my understanding about myself and other women again tells me that the power which women seek is different from what men seek. And hence one can expect some positive changes over time if they are not just following their fellowmen in the party and if they use some of their nurturing and intuitive qualities . We`also need to work with them supporting and correcting towards a better governance . I see that happening in panchayaths in Kerala and Tamilnadu.


Prakash Pandey said...

Kudos for speaking the truth...... political correctness is something which has made the conventional media completely useless .... Thanks for everything that you do, Mr. Sharma .

witan said...

In practice, this "reservation" for women is 33% in addition to the percentages of other quotas. I feel it would be more reasonable to have a 50% reservation and include proportionate reservations for SC/ST etc. A Venn diagram will enable even MPs to understand the required allocations.

Sridhar said...

While I surely agree with the various ailments that are basic to the issue of governance, politics and gender, that can continue to affect the women elected representatives, that argument cannot be used to say, we should not have the Bill. When the British ruled India, and Indians wanted to home-rule, did not the British also think that we were totally useless, and that things will not change or become better. True, its been a great struggle and looking from the top. things surely may not be good at all, but we should not forget to see the large number of small things that are happening, many for the sustainable good. If any one has failed in getting the true and right people up there to represent us, its all of us. Not that I pin too much hope in an Act, there is more actions that we need to do to make anything effective, and there will be vested enemies of the people to take advantage of all such efforts for their own private motives...and we need to fight it...Thats a struggle, parallel to this Act from where we need to derive strenght...

Dwarikanath said...

Reservation in parliament is really useless as it's only going to help elitist women and they don't need to be empowered...rather there should be reservation for women in gram panchayat level...this will empower the really marginalized women community.