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Women win more than quotas
Mumbai/Lucknow, Mar 21 (Agencies/IANS):
Published on 22 Mar. 2010 10:38 AM IST
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Our male MPs might find this disturbing reading. Quotas for women don’t always mean electing just the few for whom seats are reserved.
According to Times News Network, over time, reservation leads to more women winning elections than the designated quota.
Data from Mumbai’s municipal corporation indicates that the impact may continue even after a seat is de-reserved. The data shows that a municipal ward reserved for women in one election and open in the next was five times more likely to elect a woman than a ward that had never been reserved.
The study by Stanford University political scientist Rikhil Bhavnani covered the 1997 and 2002 elections. Analysis had to be restricted to these elections because ward boundaries were different at other times. Bhavnani’s findings were published last year in the American Political Science Review.
The study showed that approximately 21.6% of the wards reserved for women in 1997 but open in 2002 were won by women in the later election. In contrast, only 3.7% of wards that were open in both 1997 and 2002 were won by women. In all, women won 3.4% of all open seats in 1997, which more than doubled to 8.6% of open seats in the 2002 elections.
Reservation not only meant more women had more election successes when the quota ended, but also made more women stand for office. Seventy-three per cent of wards previously reserved for women but open in the next election had at least one female candidate the second time around.
But only 36% of wards that were not reserved in either election had any women candidates. Similarly, the average number of women who stood for election in freshly de-reserved wards was double the number in wards that were open both times. The number of new female candidates standing for election was also higher. More important, quotas seem to have made the electorate more willing to vote for women.
The study showed that the share of votes polled by all female candidates rose from a mere 3.3% in 1997 to 15% in 2002. Bhavnani explains this change with the theory that reservations partly work by introducing into politics women who are capable of winning elections even after reservations are withdrawn and also by teaching parties that women can win elections.
Muslim law board enhances own quota
The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) may been silent on the women’s reservation bill. But when it came to reconstituting its executive body, it unanimously increasef the representation of women from one to five.
Announcing this on the last day of the board’s three-day annual convention at the Nadwa Darul-Uloom Islamic university here, AIMPLB spokesman-cum-legal adviser Zafaryab Jilani told reporters Sunday: “We have nominated five women this time on the board’s executive committee.”
Socialite Begum Naseem Iqtidar was the lone woman on the committee till now.
The new entrants are Ruksana Lari, Safia Naseem (Lucknow), Noor Jehan Shakil (Kolkata) and Asma Zohra (Hyderabad).
At the convention, Nadwa-Darul-Uloom Rector Maulana Rabe Hasan Nadvi was unanimously elected the board president for a third consecutive term. Renowned Shia cleric and scholar Maulana Kalbe Sadiq was named as senior vice president.
AIMPLB has raised the overall strength of its executive committee from 41 to 51. “We have inducted representatives from far off regions like Ladakh and the northeast to make the board more broad-based”, said Jilani.
The board has 251 members of which 102 are founder members .

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