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Indian Bill not for unattractive women

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Opposition towards India’s Women Reservation Bill has taken a somewhat sexist turn.

Last week, Mulayam Singh Yadav, leader of the Samajwadi Party (SP), claimed that the bill would do little to help women from rural backgrounds because they were unattractive.

The remark brought outrage from numerous women right’s organisations across India, including the All India Women’s Democratic Association.

They demanded that he apologise for his ‘sexist’ remark, calling it both ‘disgusting’ and ‘ridiculous’.

Rival party, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), took the opportunity of Yadav’s poor choice of words to release a press statement.

It said: “Such a remark simply reflects the utter contempt and disrespect that the SP chief has for women.”

The Women Reservation Bill aims to offer greater opportunities for women to seek higher ranking jobs across India.

This is through a reserved or preference that is given to women seeking out jobs in politics, education and business over men.

Certain law schools in India already work to a 30% female quota, and its hoped that more schools will follow suit.

The current bill opts for a reservation of 33% quota for women in legislative bodies, Lok Sabha and the State Assemblies.

Yadav has been opposed towards the bill since it was first proposed in 2010, where he made another defamatory remark against females.

He said: “The Women Reservation Bill, if passed in present format, would provoke young men to whistle in parliament.”

Yadav attempted to justify last weeks remarks by saying that the current Bill was too limited to affluent and richer women.

Yadav claimed that rural and poorer women were less likely to win the support of the public, and therefore less likely to win votes and elections, because they were less attractive than their richer counterparts.

Yadav’s suggested a sub-quota solution to also be included that would specifically address women from rural backgrounds.

“If Dalits, Muslims and backward class are taken care of in it,” Yadav said, “we can consider supporting it.”

Yadav later added, “We always feel that men and women should work shoulder to shoulder but women are still suppressed in the society.”

“We need to support and provide quota to women in educational institutions and jobs to help them stand on their feet and demand rights,” he said.

As the Bill currently stands, SP, BSP, Rashtriya Janata Dal Party, and the Janta Dal (United) are all opposed to it.

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