India. New Law Allocates 33% Of Seats To Women

Democracy in India is making great strides. After a positive vote in the lower house (Lok Sabha) of the Indian Parliament, the Upper House (Rajya Sabha) also nearly unanimously (454 votes in favor and only two against) approved a revolutionary law according to which one-third of the seats in all legislative bodies of the country, or 33%, will be assigned to women.

For Prime Minister Narendra Modi, this is “a historic hour, a defining moment in our country’s democratic journey,” the Indian Prime Minister wrote on his official social media page “X” (formerly Twitter).

But the vote was not easy: a bill to implement quotas for women in both Indian state legislatures and the central parliament in New Delhi was introduced to MPs in 1996 but has since been rejected at least six times.

This time the law was greeted with enthusiasm and approved by all parties, including the opposition. However, in order to actually take effect, the new law will have to wait for the results of the new census needed to verify the regions. According to the Indian news agency PTI, “The last census dates back to 2011, and the country is not expected to complete the massive process and review the results of the distribution of parliamentary seats until the end of the decade.”

Currently, the presence of women in legislatures is low: there are only 104 women in the two chambers of parliament with 788 members.

However, in traditional male-dominated society, India had seen some female political leaders, the most famous of whom was Indira Gandhi, the second woman in the world to become Prime Minister.