Geneva: After the Indian Parliament yesterday passed the “landmark” Women’s Reservation Bill, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk today called on parliamentarians around the world to adopt legislative measures – “including, where necessary, gender quotas” – in order to ensure women’s voices at the centre of their nations’ political discourse, in full parity with others.
Looking at the example India has set, the High Commissioner stressed the importance of fostering an enabling environment for the participation of women from all backgrounds in public life – which can have profound, positive implications for society as a whole.
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Türk welcomed the Bill passed by both houses of the Indian Parliament and said this was an important step towards the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals as well as India’s obligations under the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.
He noted that this landmark Bill will Constitutionally entrench women’s representation in Parliament, and hailed it as a transformative move in upholding the right to participation for women and gender equality in India.
The Bill will reserve one-third of seats in Parliament and State Assemblies for women.
“The Bill requires ratification by at least 50 per cent of the states, and we call for their swift support,” he said. The High Commissioner called on the Government to implement the new system “as soon as possible”, alongside the existing reservation for ‘scheduled castes’ and ‘scheduled tribes’.