Press briefing notesOffice of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
India – Passing of Women’s Reservation Bill
22 September 2023
Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Ravina Shamdasani
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk welcomes the passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill in India, which will reserve one third of seats in national and state parliaments for women.
This landmark bill, passed by both houses of parliament, will also constitutionally entrench women’s representation in parliament, and be a transformative move in upholding the right to participation for women and gender equality in India.
Looking at the example India has set, the High Commissioner calls on parliamentarians around the world to adopt legislative measures – including, where necessary, gender quotas – in order to ensure women’s voices at the centre of their nations’ political discourse, in full parity with others.
The Bill requires ratification by at least 50 percent of the states, and we call for their swift support. The High Commissioner calls on the Government to implement the new system as soon as possible, alongside the existing reservation for ‘scheduled castes’ and ‘scheduled tribes’.
We stress the importance of fostering an enabling environment for the participation of women from all backgrounds in public life – which can have profound, positive implications for society as a whole.
This is an important step towards implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals as well as India’s obligations under the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.
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