New Delhi : Demanding quota system for women in politics, former Sri Lankan president Chandrika Kumaratunga has said that the quota system for women in elected bodies should be compulsory.
Chandrika pointed out that Lanka has just introduced a 25 percent quota for women in local body elections which should have started much earlier.
Quotas for women in politics are a two-edged sword, but they might be a necessity. This was consensus among the speakers on a high-ranking panel on ‘Gender, Policy and Politics’ at the Raisina Dialogue, jointly organised by the Observer Research Foundation and the Ministry of External Affairs.
In India, a 50 percent quota for women in panchayats has been in place since 2009 but the women’s reservation bill that proposes a 33 percent quota for women in the Lok Sabha is still pending in the Parliament.
Ambassador Latha Reddy, who is currently Commissioner at the ‘Global Commission on Internet Governance’, pointed out that Chandrika would prefer a situation where ‘gender does not matter’ and that it was important to her to have entered the Indian Foreign Service on merit.
Chandrika confidently said nobody could treat her as a quota woman as she has always been on equal footing.
“It is very important for women to be good,” she added.
Kumaratunga, however, admitted that she too got ‘swamped by the system’ and eventually had ‘more urgent matters at hand.
All speakers in the Raisina Dialogue agreed that claiming that there are no suitable women is usually a lame excuse.
More than 100 speakers from 35 countries participated in the inaugural three-day Raisina Dialogue (March 1-3) which discussed various aspects around the theme ‘Connectivity’.(ANI)