Gender Equality  has long been a global concern, with women historically facing numerous barriers and limitations in various sectors of the society. To address this disparity, governments around the world have implemented affirmative action measures, such as reservation bills, to ensure women’s participation and representation in decision-making processes.


Narendra Modi government on Tuesday introduced 128th Constitutional Amendment Bill, 2023, to bring in 33% reservation for women in the Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies. This will include one-third seats reserved for SC/STs, and “as nearly as possible”, and in the general category, one-third of the total seats. This bill says that the reservation of seats for women shall cease to exist 15 years from the date of the commencement of the Amendment Act. The bill was recently passed in both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, with the help of which women will get 33% of reservation in the Lok Sabha and in all the State Legislative Assemblies of the country. In parliament , the bill was passes by the majority of 215-0 and 454-2 in the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha respectively. This reservation of women can only be implemented after the  delimitation exercise. Our census was supposed to be done in 2021 but the government couldn’t do it. So, it is estimated that the implementation of the said bill can only be done by 2029 or 2031. Many opposition party members have raised questions about the need to wait for the census and delimitation. They asked, Why is the reservation of women not being implemented right now? The second point of controversy is that Why is there no provision of reservation for OBC women in this bill?  


The Women Reservation Bill, 2023, is a progressive piece of legislation aimed at increasing women’s participation in politics. It proposes to reserve 33% of seats for women in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Indian Parliament, as well as in the state legislature assemblies. If implemented, this bill would be a significant step forward in addressing the gender imbalance in Indian politics, where women have traditionally been underrepresented.


The Bill seeks to reserve one-third (33%) of all seats for women in the Lok Sabha and the state legislative assemblies.The issue of reservation for women in politics can be traced back to the Indian national movement. In 1931, an official memorandum jointly issued on the status of women in the new Constitution by three women’s bodies, leaders Begum Shah Nawaz  and Sarojini Naidu. The bill was first introduced by the Deve Gowde Government in 1996 and referred to a Joint Parliamentary Committee chaired by Geeta Mukherjee but lapsed with the dissolution of Lok Sabha and had to remain reintroduced. In 2004, the government included reservation of women in Common Minimum Program. In 2008, the government introduced the bill in the Rajya Sabha so that it does not lapse again. The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Justice has recommended the motion of the bill in December 2009. The bill again lapsed in 2010 and 2014 after reaching Lok Sabha where the house was dissolved. Women Reservation Bill is seen as a logical extension of the 73rd and 74th constitutional amendments (1992, 1993) which reserved one third of all seats and chairperson posts for women in rural and urban local governments. 


Women’s Reservation in Lower House: The bill provided for inserting Article 330A to the Indian Constitution, which borrows from the provisions of Article 330, which mentions reservation of seats in Lok Sabha for SCs/STs. The bill provided that reserved seats for women may be given to different constituencies in states or union territories. The bill looks for or serks to provide one-third of the seats for the reservation of SC/ST women.


The Women Reservation Bill introduces Article 332A, which necessitates the reservation of seats for women in state legislative assembly of every state. Additionally, one-third of the seats that is reserved for SCs and STs must be allocated for women, and one-third of the total seats that is filled through direct elections in legislative assemblies shall also be reserved for women.

A new clause was added in Article 239AA .i.e. Article 239AA(2)(b) which was amended by the bill in order to add that the laws framed by parliament shall apply to the National Capital Union Territory of Delhi.


In Gujarat, it elected 8% of women legislators in its 182-member assembly. In Himachal Pradesh, where every second voter is a female but has elected 67 men and only 1 woman. According to National Average, women in all state assemblies remains around 8%.

Out of 193 countries, India ranks 144 in the representation of women in parliament according to Inter-Parliamentary Union’s report. India falls behind among its immediate neighbours  Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal. 


The passage of the Womwn Reservation Bill, 2023, would have far-reaching benefits for both women and society as a whole. Firstly, it would provide women with greater opportunities to actively participate in the decision-making process and shape policies that affect their lives. This increased representation is essential for ensuring that women’s voices and perspectives are heard and taken into account when formulating legislation and governance.

Secondly, the bill would serve as a powerful tool for empowering women, fostering their political leadership skills and promoting gender equality. Historically marginalized and oppressed groups often face barriers to entry into politics, such as lack of social support, financial resources, and gender biases. By reserving seats for women, the bill would help break these barriers, encouraging more women to actively engage in politics and contribute to the development of the nation.


Women community are not homogenous group likewise caste group. Therefore, the same arguments raised and made for caste based reservations cannot be applied on women. Some claimed that reserving seats for women would violate the Constitution’s guarantee of equality. They said that if there is a reservation for women then they would not be able to compete on merit, which would lead to decrease in their status.


One primary concern raised by critics is the notion of tokenism. Some argued that reserving a fixed number of seats for women might lead to the selection solely without considering merit and capabilities in order to fulfill the quota. This apprehension underscores the importance of creating a level playing field, where women have equal access to resources, opportunities, and political education to compete on an equal footing with their male counterparts.

Another key challenge lies in shifting societal attitudes and biases against women in leadership roles. Deep-rooted patriarchial norms and gender stereotypes often hinder women’s progress in various sectors, including politics. Addressing these biases through awareness campaigns, education, and cultural transformation is vital to create an environment that supports women’s political aspirations.


It is important in many areas like it plays important role in caste groups, Gender quota, Panchayats, Vote share and many more. Any scheme of women’s reservation must be within the constitutional provisions and must also account for its representation across caste groups. Without a gender quota, women’s representation will continue to left marginal causing a massive deficit in our democracy. Studies on panchayats have shown the affirmative effect of reservation on empowerment of women and on allocation of resources. Though women’s vote share has increased but the number of women in terms of power has not increased. According to GLOBAL Gender Gap Report 2022, India stands on the 48th position out of 146 countries in terms of political empowerment dimension.


There are some political parties that reserved seats for women for election candidature i.e. Odisha’s Biju Janata Dal (BJD), West Bengal’s Trinamool Congress (TMC) have reservation of women candidates. TMC and BJD FIELDED 40 percent and 33 percent women candidates respectively. Interestingly, 65 percent of the TMC’s women candidates won in comparison to 44 percent of their men. 86 percent of the BJD’s women candidates won in comparison to 43 percent of their Men.

Women’s Representation can be effectively put into practice by:

  • Strengthening Independent Decision Making, by establishing an independent monitoring system or committees that expressely prohibits family members who are influencing the women representative decision making process. It can be applied by lowering down the impact of Patriarchial mindset of the society.
  • Increasing Awareness and Education among women section about their importance of their participation and rights is essential. By organizing awareness campaigns and women empowernment programs, we can increase political participation of women.
  • Addressing Gender-based Violence and Harassment as these are the main obstacles to participation of women in politics. By resolving and paying attention to these issues by introducing policies and some legal measures can help in creating more safe environment for women in political participation.
  • By bringing Reforms in the Electoral Process such as proportional representation and preferential voting systems which help in increasing the women’s representation in politics .

These are only few approaches, for an effective long-lasting change, a multifaceted strategy addressing multiple challenges is needed.


The Women Reservation Bill, 2023, marks a significant milestone in India’s journey towards gender equality and inclusive governance. By reserving seats for women in political bodies, the bill aims to address the underrepresentation of women, empower them, and ensure their voices shape the nation’s policies and development. While challenges exist and opposition persists, it is crucial to recognize the transformative potential of the bill in promoting gender equality and improving governance. Implementing the Women Reservation Bill will not only benefit women but also contribute to a more equitable and prosperous society for all.

Author:- Dolly Singh Gehlot, a Student of BM Law College

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