Aanchal BansalCA Finalist
Reservations have always been a hotly debated topic in India with a large ethnic diversity to cater. We all know how the reservation mechanism works, by providing a benefit to those who are in need of it. Given the age-long debate of the SC-ST reservations in India, this topic has been discussed fairly enough and as far as my opinion is concerned, the debate is never really fruitful or conclusive. However, the issue around women has started to gain prominence again with violence against women on the rise.
This article shall not discuss if reservations are fair or not. Rather, we shall dwell into a deeper question- the root of the requirement of reservations. A much broader question as to why reservations are needed in the first place.
Often, we come across statements like “33% has been reserved for women” or “she’ll get the benefit of gender diversity in the admission process”.
Through my very own conversations with people, I have come across a variety of responses to this ‘women reservation bill’. And a fair amount of people think it isn’t a fair thing to do.
Again, not debating on whether or not it is fair, I shall take you through a perspective of the WHY, of this bill. Before we do that, it is essential to get a clear idea about the various ways women are provided with apparent ‘advantages’ in the present world.
From a separate coach in the metro, to the 33% reservation in educational institutions, women are given “advantages”. In the IITs, back in 2018-19 when this provision was introduced, 14% seats were reserved for female candidates, followed by an increase to 17% in 2019-20 and finally a 20% reservation in 2020-2021.
Women even hold a 33% reservation in the Lok Sabha and all state legislative assemblies.
Now that we have all the facts, here is what I think rooted this reservation- MINDSET.
Women are perceived as a historically disadvantaged section in the minds of the people. They’re seen as the weaker gender, or as someone who needs constant support to pull through life. And I wouldn’t deny that this thinking has evolved, but let’s face it, it is STILL deep rooted in the Indian culture.
Sons are constantly brought up with a thinking of “you need to be educated as you’ve to run a family”, while daughters are often seen as ‘its okay even if she doesn’t do well in life because the husband shall take care of her once she is married’. And as much as I agree that the societal pressures on a man are more in certain aspects, such type of a thinking should not be seeped into the heads of young adults.
Women are now given preferential treatment because of the historic mindset of treating men as superior and women as inferior or at least not equal to men.
See, providing reservations to women isn’t unfair it actually is about providing equality. Thanks to the thinking people have carried forward into the 21st century, women till date don’t get enough education or parents aren’t willing to spend as much on a daughter’s education as much as they would splurge on that of their son’s. Sure, this does not exist as much in the modern day metropolitans we all are residents of but dive into tier 2 or tier 3 cities and boom! You’ll have a real life episode of what I just narrated. There has actually been a trend seen that enrollment of women in secondary and higher education is fairly lower than that of men.
All this roots from the mindset of men and women not being seen as individuals; but as ‘men’ and ‘women’. Simply put, if we are able to eradicate this ancient mindset from the upcoming generations, we would have a world where equality isn’t just a myth.
A world where feminism is just a word in the dictionary, where seats aren’t reserved for women simply because of the consequences they have to face because they’re seen as a weaker gender.
We won’t have a video of one woman saying ‘feminism these days is a corrupted concept’ followed by hundreds of people ready to take a bullet at her for saying that.
We’d have a world, where ‘gender roles’ are no thing, a world where we’re all just ‘people’.
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