Enhancing Role Of Women in
Strengthening Democracy

Program at Constitution Club of India in December 2018

The Women’s Reservation Bill (WRB), i.e. the (The Constitution 108th Amendment Bill 2008) is the longest pending bill in the history of India. The Bill proposes to reserve a minimum of 33% seats for women in Parliament and in State Legislative Assemblies.
The WRB offers an important instrument to improve India’s performance on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 5) by promoting women’s political participation and leadership. The global average for women in parliament stands at 22.40%, India stands at a pitiable 103rd place out of 140 countries, with a mere 12% representation of elected women in Parliament and an average of 9%  of female representation in State Legislative Assemblies (Inter-Parliamentary Union). 
The Bill was passed by the Upper House (Rajya Sabha) of Parliament on 9th March 2010, and since then passage of this Bill in Lok Sabha has remained stalled due to lack of political will and lack of consensus among political parties regarding the Bill
The Bill has to go through the following procedures so as to be converted into an Act:

  • The Bill has to be passed by the Lok Sabha

For the Bill to be passed by Lok Sabha (Lower House of the Parliament), it has to undergo through following processes

  • Tabling of the Bill in Lok Sabha 
  • Discussion and voting on the Bill
  • Obtain adequate support from Lok Sabha MPs (Members of Parliament) for passage of the Bill in Lok Sabha
  • The Bill has to be passed by half of India’s state legislatures

 India consists of 29 states and the Women’s Reservation Bill has to be passed by more than half of the state legislatures.

  • The Bill has to be signed by Honourable President of India

In the past The Bill has witnessed rejection and protests (even violent protests) inside Parliament in Lok Sabha, main protesting political parties to be named as Rashtriy Janata Dal, Samajwadi Party. Though few political parties like Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP, ruling party in centre ), and their alliance parties in the government, are, theoretically supporting the Bill , they even mentioned in their election manifestoes during 2014 elections , but in reality they are not initiating measures for passage of the Bill. Major opposition party in Parliament, Indian National Congress (INC) is supporting the Bill and in recent times has come openly in support of the Bill. INC president Mr Rahul Gandhi, declared that if his party comes to power in next general election in 2019, WRB will be passed immediately
Through multi layered advocacy efforts, Centre for Social Research, in coordination with the National alliance partners has kept lobbying and advocating with leaders of all major political parties as well as with people across India for passage of the Bill.

Program at Abu Road in February 2018

Current Environment
The majority of political parties represented in the 16th Lok Sabha have spoken in favor of the Women Reservation Bill (WRB) in their election manifestoes.  Centre for Social Research in coordination with “National Alliance for Women’s Reservation Bill” has renewed its efforts to mobilize support for the WRB and to push for  tabling  of the Bill in the Lok Sabha  ,for discussion ,voting and passage of the Bill.
To attain the goal “Centre for Social Research, New Delhi”, in coordination with “National Alliance of Women’s Organizations” has been undertaking campaign at multiple levels as mentioned below.

  • National Level Campaign-Meeting with MPs, Pol Party heads, CEC, Press Conference, Preparation of Gender Manifesto, distribution of gender manifesto to President, PM POL Party Heads, MPs, Letter Campaign with PM 5000 letter dispatch, rally at National capital Delhi
  • State Level Campaign –Programmes in five states , letter campaign with MLAs, press conference in states, state mlas support, Endorsement forms signature from MLAS,state commission for women member support,
  • Campaign at Panchayat /Urban Local Body level-endorsement form signature,
  • Campaign with Students, SHG women and  common citizens at grass root level-Jamia Millia , Ambedkar University, one to one advocacy, all alliance partner  make awareness generation in their meetings
  • Print and electronic media campaign-separate report
  • Social media campaign-separate report

The campaign is aimed at lobbying, advocacy and awareness generation at multiple levels so as to create positive and favorable situation in country with respect to passage of the Bill from Parliament and State Legislative assemblies. During the course of previous two year of the project, advocacy at various levels have been undertaken extensively and its positive impacts have already been observed through multiple sources. As a result of our continuous campaigning during last two years, we have been able to bring this issue to the national main stream with many political leaders speaking in favor of the Bill that include Ms Sonia Gandhi of INC, Mr Rahul Gandhi of INC, Mr Nitish Kumar of JDU, Mr Varun Gandhi of BJP, Ms Kanimozhi of DMK, Mr. D Raja of CPI, Ms Supriya Sule of NCP, among others.

Additionally Mr. Naveen Patnail , Chief Minister of Odisha , Capt Amrinder Singh ,Chief Minister of  Punjab, Mr Ashok Gehlot have declared the resolution, have issued notification for passage of Women’s Reservation Bill from their respective State Assemblies.

Mr Lalthan Hawla, former chief Minister of Mizoram, Mr. M K Stalin are other prominent leaders who have declared support for passage of the Bill. Shiromani Akali Dal also pledged to support passage of WRB

We hope the best in future

National Alliance meeting in November 2018

Activities: Month wise

During the period of last one year (From January 2018 to December 2018) following activities were undertaken by WRB section of CSR. CSR is a leading partner of “National Alliance of Women’s Organizations” and collaborates with the Alliance for undertaking advocacy and campaign at national level, state level, PRI level and grass root level

January 2018

  • WRB related Programme in Jammu and Kashmir-07.01.2018
  • Press conference in Srinagar-08.01.2018
  • Twitter Campaign "Tweetathon" from 17.01.2018 to 19.01.2018
  • Facebook live on 25.01.2018
  • Alliance partners meeting to discuss Women’s manifesto

February 2018

  • Meeting of Women’s delegation with Swami Agnivesh on 05.02.2018
  • Meeting of Women’s delegation with Member of Parliament Shri Alok Sanjar on  08.02.2018
  • WRB related programme at Abu Road on 28.02.2018
  • Community meeting  at Uttam Nagar for offline petition/signature campaign
  • Offline petition/ signature campaign in progress

March 2018

  • Preparatory visit to Bhopal for WRB related programme
  • Director Dr. Ranjana Kumari, MP Ms Sushmita Deb and Ms Sharmistha Mukherjee meet Mrs.  Sonia Gandhi on 07.03.2018 to discuss protest march on International Women’s day
  • Protest march at Parliament  for passage of WRB on 08.03.2018 (women clad  in red), CSR and Indian National Congress  collectively organized the same
  • Women’s Delegation meet Chief Election Commissioner Shri O P Rawat on 22.03.2018
  • Meeting of  National Alliance members for preparing Women’s Manifesto
  • Letter Campaign with MLAs in progress
  • Offline petition/ signature campaign in progress

April 2018

  • Director Dr Ranjana Kumari’s visit to Commonwealth meeting in London, details of latest developments/ achievements regarding WRB related campaign disseminated
  • Community Meeting at Kusumpur Pahari regarding offline petition/signature campaign on 03.04.2018
  • Community meeting at CMC centre Uttam Nagar for signature campaign/offline petition 17.04.2018
  • Meeting of Alliance partners on  24.04.2018 in the office of  YWCA of India at  Parliament Street , for preparing Women's Manifesto
  • Press Conference at Bhopal on 25.04.2018
  • WRB related programme at Bhopal on 26.04.2018
  • Interactive session with students of Jammil Millia Islamia Univerity ,(Sociology Department) on 27.04.2018
  • Letter campaign with MLAs in progress
  • Offline petition/signature campaign in progress
Protest on 08.03.2018 (International Women’s day)

May 2018

  • Centre for Social Research  (CSR) in coordination with  "National Alliance for Women's Reservation Bill" started petition drive and related meetings with citizens  aimed at awareness generation regarding the WRB as well as to seek support for  the Bill
  • In this sequence of meetings, a meeting with community people was held at Uttam Nagar in New Delhi on 11.05.2018.The meeting was attended by over 80 local women.
  • Community women participated enthusiastically and provided their support for the Bill.
  • The process of preparation of Women’s Manifesto started
  • Preparation for letter campaign with PM underway, letter writing and signature from partner organizations. It was strategized to dispatch 5000 letters in a single day to PM’s residence
  • Signature Campaign/Letter campaign with MLAs throughout India underway

June 2018

  • Women's Charter Finalization
  • Massive Letter Campaign with Prime Minister - (5000) letters dispatched within a span of two days
  • Letter campaign with Member of Legislative Assemblies (MLAs), underway
  • Preparation for State level program in Madhya Pradesh

July 2018

  • Press Conference held on 13.07.2018 at Press Club of India, 1 Raisena Road, New Delhi , members of National Alliance and village women from more than five states participated
  • Women's Charter released on the same day (13.07.2018)
  • To seek  support of people from Chhatisgarh for passage of Women's Reservation Bill , programme held at Mahasamund  on 25.07.2018 ,in participation with PRI/ULB members , SHG women and college students
  • Press Conference at Mahasamund on 25.07.2018
  • Signature campaign with people at grass root level (Endorsement forms being signed) underway and in progress

August 2018

  • Women's Charter dispatched to 80 members of Parliament and political party heads
  • Letter campaign with MLAs continues
  • Mail campaign with MLAs continues
  • Signature campaign with people at grass root level (Endorsement forms being signed)
  • New NGOs contacted for joining National Alliance

September 2018

  • Signature campaign continues
  • Letter campaign with MLAS continues
  • Print and electronic media campaign restarted and media coverage provided
  • Meeting with CEC for electoral reforms -Meeting with CEC of India Mr O P Rawat on 11.09.2018 at CEC office
  • New partner organization attached to the WRB campaign

October 2018

  • Annual report compiling for submitting to funder “Commonwealth Foundation”
  • Meeting with German Human Rights commissioner and German delegation  at  CSR office
  • Letter Campaign with MLAs continue
  • Signature Campaign with NGOS in different states of India continue

November 2018

  • Meeting with Home Minister Mr Rajnath Singh  on 12.11.2018 
  • Meeting with Karnataka local leader’s delegation on 13.11.2018 (9 members) 
  • Meeting with Andhra Pradesh NGO partner Ms G rashmi and Ms Keerthi  Bollneni , from Vavya Mahila Mandali ,Vijaywada ,Andhra Pradesh on  12.11.2018         
  • Meeting with Congress Mahila Morcha Head Ms Sushmita Deb and INC Delhi head Ms Sharmistha Mykherjee on 24.11.2018 for strategy for winter session of Parliament 
  • Coordination with DMK for program at constitution club
  • Meeting of National Alliance partners for preparation, discussion and joint strategy for program on  04.12.2018 at Constitution Club of India
  • Preparation of draft of appeal to Governmentfor program on 04.12.2018
  • Meeting for justice for Nirbhaya on 29.11.2018

December 2018

  • Meeting on 02.12.2018 at Recreation Centre cum library, Safdarjang Enclave, New Delhi for program of “Nirbhaya Chetna Manch”   on 16.12.2018 , to pay tribute to Nirbhaya
  • Program on 04.12.2018 at Constitution Club of India, the program organized to issue joint appeal to government and to political parties for passage of the Bill during winter session of Parliament, 2018. Program was attended by participants from across 10 states of India
  • After our program on 04.12.2018 , Mr  Rahul Gandhi President of INC wrote  letter to Chief Ministers of Congress ruled states advising them to  pass WRB resolutions from their respective State Legislative Assemblies
  • Call your MP campaign
  • Message your MP campaign

Way Forward

The year 2018 was much happening when considered activities undertaken by WRB division. The activities undertaken at multiple levels and with various stakeholders aimed at

  • Seeking support from Political parties and from policy makers for passage of the Bill ,
  • Awareness generation at grass root level and at Panchayati Raaj Institution level
  • Generating all India level demand from all section of  society for passage of the bill by Parliament
  • Collaboration with NGOs for grass root level outreach

As leading partner of “National Alliance for Women’s Reservation Bill”, CSR conducted programs and activities throughout the years and our greatest success was that the Bill remained the National Agenda throughout the year and almost all political parties extended support for this Bill.

The WRB project is an effective platform for focused advocacy and campaigning for political empowerment of women and for equal representation of women

We aim to pursue the goal in future as well, to continue our efforts of ensuring equal political participation of women and for increased participation of women in policy making.

We would like to train women across India as future political leaders and to take the issue further in future