For women, where there's a bill, there's a way

Perhaps one shouldn't expect too much too soon from the women's reservation bill - but besides changing the face of politics, it is bound to alter the gender dynamics of Indian society gradually, say experts.

Counsellor Sameer Parikh says quotas are sometimes required to initiate change. The women's reservation bill will surely have an impact on the mindset of Indian society although it will be a gradual process.

'There is absolutely no denying that the reservation bill will have its impact on the mindset of people here. The reservation will ensure that more women come to the forefront of public life and make people realise their ability to perform at par with their male counterparts,' Parikh told IANS.

'It's however difficult to predict when the change will be seen...it's a churning process. But just like in urban India where women are making tremendous progress in every field thanks to education and opportunity, the bill will, in a few years time, change the mindset and the dynamics in Indian society as a whole,' he added.

The historic women's reservation bill which seeks to reserve 33 percent legislative seats for women was passed in the Rajya Sabha last week amid much furore. It is yet to be passed by the Lok Sabha and no dates have been decided so far for discussing the bill in the lower house of parliament which will go for a near four-week recess next week.

In a passionate speech, Brinda Karat, leader of the Communist Party of India-Marxist, while speaking in the Rajya Sabha, said: 'The bill will change (the country's political) culture because women today are still caught in a culture prison. In the name of tradition, stereotypes are imposed and we have to fight these every day.

'These stereotypes will also be broken. However, a woman is not a superwoman; so things will not change overnight. Please don't expect them to prove themselves or to do wonders. I do believe that their entry will surely make for more sensitive politics. It's a critical mass that will affect policy,' she added.

But experts insist that it is more than politics that the bill will have an impact on.

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