Cabinet Approves Women's Reservation Bill

  • 20 Sep 2023

On 19th September, 2023, the Union cabinet gave its nod to a Constitution amendment bill that paves the way for women's reservations in both Parliament and state assemblies.

Key Points

  • A Long-Awaited Legislation: The journey towards enacting a law for legislative reservations for women began in 1996, but all previous attempts met with failure.
  • In 2010, the previous government succeeded in passing the bill in the Upper House, only to face challenges bringing it to the Lok Sabha due to pressure from coalition allies.
  • Path to Legislation: To become law, the bill necessitates an amendment to the Indian Constitution and requires approval by a two-thirds majority in both Houses of Parliament, along with consent from at least 50% of states.

Pros and Cons of Women’s Reservation Bill


  • Advancing Gender Equality: The primary objective of this bill is to advance gender equality within the realm of politics. It seeks to rectify the historical underrepresentation of women in legislative bodies.
  • Empowerment: By augmenting women's involvement in politics, this legislation can be a catalyst for empowerment, offering women a platform to articulate their concerns and advocate for issues directly affecting them.
  • Diverse Perspectives: Women often bring distinct viewpoints and priorities to the table compared to men. Augmented representation can inject these perspectives into the policymaking process, potentially resulting in more balanced and comprehensive decisions.
  • Role Models: Female politicians can function as role models, motivating other women to enter the political arena and pursue leadership roles across various sectors.
  • Social Transformation: Amplified representation has the potential to challenge and transform traditional gender roles and stereotypes prevalent in society, fostering broader societal change.


  • Reservation vs. Merit: Detractors argue that reservations should be grounded in merit rather than gender. They contend that political representatives should be elected based on qualifications and capabilities, rather than gender-based quotas.
  • Political Dynasties: Concerns persist that women from established political families might gain the most from these reservations, perpetuating political dynasties rather than genuinely promoting empowerment.
  • Tokenism: There exists a worry that seat reservations for women could lead to token representation, lacking substantive participation and influence.
  • Impact on Marginalized Women: Critics suggest that the bill might primarily benefit women from privileged backgrounds, potentially leaving marginalized women contending with persistent barriers to political participation.
  • Potential Opposition: In certain instances, resistance to increased female political participation could arise, potentially leading to backlash or antagonism.
  • Administrative Hurdles: Enacting this bill would necessitate significant administrative adjustments, including the delimitation of constituencies, which could pose logistical challenges.